We all need a desert. Not a dessert, but a desert, we need one in our lives. In fact we need a desert experience many times in our lives. It is a place where we can step back and sort out what is happening, an opportunity to find the meaning of what is happening for us. Spiritual writers have long seen the desert as the place from which we can set out on our journey of life, of faith and of spirit.
In only a few words, the Gospel writer Mark describes how Jesus began his life and mission. (Mark 1:12-15) After his baptism, Jesus ventured into the desert, an unknown carpenter from Nazareth. There in the desert he searched for where the Spirit was leading him. He struggled with his temptations. He reflected on what he was doing and found his gifts as well as is call.
He came out of the desert filled with the Spirit and with the mission that would be his life. His would be a life that was marked by this Spirit. It would energize him. It would direct him. And it would drive him. This Spirit shaped his life.
Jesus would also be shaped by what he encountered, by the persons he met, the experiences he had. He, like us, was formed by the Spirit but also by the world in which he lived. Sometimes there was enthusiastic openness to his mission. He was accepted and affirmed. At other times, he met resistance, rejection and even threatening hostility.
Some of Jesus’ days were marked by success, some by failure. Whether the road of his mission was smooth or rough, Jesus periodically would return to the desert. There he would restore and revive his energies. He would pray to that loving parent God and renew his awareness of t he Spirit that filled his life. In such a desert experience Jesus would rediscover the purpose and the direction for is life and mission.
Lent every year is our desert experience. It can be time to refocus our lives, to rediscover our connection with our loving parent God. In the desert of Lent we have the opportunity to step back and look at where we are in our journey. With renewed energies and vision, we then continue life with meaning and direction.
This Lent, we have some suggestions for your desert time. Take home a copy of Sacred Journey by Krystyna Higgins (a member of our community) with its daily reading and reflections. Try some of the prayer websites noted in this bulletin – brief prayer opportunities every day. Check out Little Rock Scripture Study and join others each week. Go to our facebook page and connect to #Share Jesus.
There is more on each of these opportunities in our bulletin this week. Have a wonderful desert experience this Lent.