Lent and the Wilderness

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Feb 23, 2009 by Howard Baker | 0 Comments

From Harry Williams, True Wilderness, p.29:

Lent is supposed to be the time when we think of Jesus in the wilderness. And the wilderness belongs to us. It is always lurking somewhere as part of our experience, and there are times when it seems pretty near the whole of it. Most people's wilderness is inside them, not outside. Our wilderness is an inner isolation. It's an absence of contact. It's a sense of being alone-boringly alone, or saddeningly alone, or terrifyingly alone.

This Lent, unlike the ecclesiastical charade, this sense of being isolated and therefore unequipped, is a necessary part, or a necessary stage, of our experience as human beings. It therefore found a place in the life of the Son of Man. Because he is us, he too did time in the wilderness. And what happened to him there shows us what is happening to ourselves. Here, as always, we see in his life the meaning of our own.

...This then is our Lent, our going with Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. And we might apply to it some words from the the First Epistle of St. Peter: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice, in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Christ's glory is his full and satisfying communion with all that is. It is the opposite of being isolated. You don't have to wait for this until you die or the world comes to an end. It can be yours now. Accept your wilderness. From the story of the Son of Man realize what your Lent really means, and then angels will minister to you as they did to him.


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