People of Grace,
This Lent walk with others in the light of Christ. This often feels like a season of darkness and shadow as we journey through repentance and reconciliation. These are hard places where the desert images of Scripture take on full emotional and spiritual color.
I learned taking long hikes in the deserts of the Southwest that a wise hiker is never really alone. There are those who build, make, and loan us equipment. There are those who know where we are going and help us plan, offer guidance, and pray for us along the way. There are those who drive us to the trail-head and pick us up. There are those who journey with us. I often felt the reality of the Cloud of Witnesses on the trails and in the back-country of the wilderness.
And though no bushes ever burned for me, I often found myself undeniably in the presence of the angels and the Spirit of God. I often got direction when I had lost my way. It is the irony of the spiritual life that God often comes in the wild places to call us into domesticity. But I have never been called alone, though I have often gone alone, sometimes because I was called to it and sometimes in obstinance rather than obedience.
This Lent, let us commit to journey together as the Body of Christ. Whose gear do you carry? Who has helped to prepare you for this wilderness? Who walks with you, whether physically or spiritually? Who waits for you?
This sojourn out of the promised land or out in search of it is a discipline, and often discipline makes us feel alone. We have to practice reaching out to others and reaching out to God in prayer as we let go of the idols and burdens and sins that we have carried too long and learn to trust that angels attend us and the saints surround us even here.
It is difficult every year to put away my “alleluias” this time of year. Because as we journey through Lent I never fail to realize how blessed I am, how beloved, how not alone.
Blessings along the way,
18 February 2015