Finding God in the Wilderness
Wednesday March 2nd is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, meaning “lengthen” and refers to the lengthening days of spring. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptations and preparing to begin his ministry. This year, our theme for Lent will be “Finding God in the Wilderness.” After we look at Jesus’ time in the wilderness on the first Sunday of Lent, we will move to the book of Exodus and explore Israel’s time in the wilderness.
How did the Israelites deal with uncertainty and not-knowing as they made their way from Egypt to the foreign place God was leading them to?
Where did they find God during this time of uncertainty?
What did Jesus learn in the wilderness about himself and his ministry?
What lessons can we learn from their journeys as we travel through our own time of uncertainty?
Lent is also a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by new converts and then became a time of penance by all Christians. Today, we focus on our relationships with God, growing as disciples and extending ourselves, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of ourselves for others.
Much remains uncertain in the life of the church as we continue our pastoral search process, and in our world as we continue to deal with COVID 19 and a struggling economy, and threats of war in Europe. In his book, Whistling in the Dark, theologian Frederick Buechner encourages us to think of the forty days of Lent as the tithe (or 10%) of a year. That approach seems very appropriate during these challenging days. So at SCC, let’s view this Lenten season as a tithe of the year ahead, and let’s ask ourselves these additional questions:
Who is God calling us be as individuals and a congregation?
What can we give to God – on our own and as a family of faith?
What can we give to the world around us?
What gifts can we gather together as we head toward resurrection – the resurrection of Christ, the church, and our world post-pandemic?
Plan to join us throughout the Lenten season as we search for God in the wilderness. It will be a meaningful time of preparation and discovery.
On the journey with you, Tracy