Meet God in the Wilderness, Part 5
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, Spiritual Formation Ministries
Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, in order that they may see the food with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.'” -Exodus 16:32
If we look at our history, we can notice a pattern. Every time our spiritual ancestors were in the wilderness, it felt hard, there can be no doubt; but it was always a precursor to some infusion of clarity, integrity, hope, calling that changed their trajectory and deepened their faith. We, too, can wander and lament about what appears to be sparse conditions, or we can choose to see what is here and imagine what thriving even in these conditions might look like.
In fact, some of our ancestors chose the desert, on purpose, as the place to live their spiritual callings. The desert mothers and fathers in fourth-century Egypt moved to the desert when Christianity became the religion of the empire. They were concerned that something essential and transformative might be lost as Christians got more comfortable. They moved into “cells” and lived disciplined lives of radical simplicity. Craving the substance of this simple way, crowds of people began to move into the desert to join them. This was the birthplace of early monasticism and most contemplative prayer forms (including centering prayer and lectio divina) that are still shaping us today.
Lenten Reflection Questions:
- How does the pattern of our spiritual ancestors speak to our own time? What can we learn?
- How might the simple way of the desert be transformational for you or your community?
- What does the witness of the early desert mothers and fathers say to you about the power of faithfulness even in challenging conditions?
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.