Meet God in the Wilderness, Part 4
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, Spiritual Formation Ministries
When one of us says, “Look, there’s nothing out there,” what we are really saying is, “I cannot see.” -Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert, p.69
Did you know there are over 2,000 plant species and 700 animal species in the Mojave Desert? Encounters with this seemingly barren desert wilderness might have you guessing otherwise. The conditions can be harsh. The habitat is exposed. But sit atop a rock for a while, and you may be surprised at what you see. What at first appears uninhabitable is actually teeming with life that knows how to be sustained in precisely these conditions.
It certainly feels like a desert time for many individuals and communities of faith. Much has gone dry in us. There is a strong urge in the desert moments of our lives to avoid this uncomfortable spiritual terrain for the lush green of familiar experience and cool water plentiful for quenching our thirst. And yet, here we are. However much we may wish for a return to what was, we cannot be other than where we are right now. The wisdom of the spiritual journey would even say to us-growth comes from moving through what is actually happening, not by trying to evade it.
Lenten Reflection Questions:
- What feels dry in you or in your community right now?
- What landscape currently describes the spiritual journey of your own life or of your community?
- How have you experienced growth by moving through what is actually happening?
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Lenten Spiritual Practices
Moving Toward the Peaceful One
As Jesus was nearing the final days of his life, he wept over the city and proclaimed, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-42).What are the things that make for peace in our lives, communities, and around the world? During the Lenten season, spend time in silent refection or journaling each day to notice: Am I moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One? Pay attention to your attitudes, actions, and relationships this day. When did you most embody the peaceful One in your daily living? When were your thoughts or actions contrary to the peace of Jesus Christ? How might Jesus, the peaceful One, who is always near to you, be inviting you to draw nearer to him through your daily living?
Fasting and Giving-$40 in 40 Days
A Lenten fast gives us an opportunity to make space in our lives so that God can live in and through us. It’s a time to evaluate what we hunger for most and what we consume. This year, we’ve been invited to tithe as a spiritual practice by setting aside $40 during the 40 days of Lent. If you are participating, pay attention today to the dollar you have given. What might you have done with that dollar otherwise? How does Lenten generosity invite you to reflect on what is “enough” in your life? Who might you invite to join you in this practice? How might your gift be magnified by the many others responding to the same call?
You can make your $40 offering anytime during the Lenten season online or through your offering envelope for Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.