Once again we find ourselves in the season of Lent. The 40 days which lead us from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day. “As the best way to appreciate a sunrise is to be there in the darkness before dawn, so the only way to appreciate Easter is to have come to it through Lent…” Revd. Canon J John
During this time, we recall and ponder on Jesus’ time in the wilderness. A time apart from all that he had grown up with and that was familiar to him. A time of prayer and fasting. A time of preparation for his ministry and mission.
As we reflect back to Lent 2020, we may resonate more strongly with the concept of the wilderness. With the onset of the global Corona Virus pandemic, the ensuing lockdowns and restrictions have altered our lives as we knew them. Our familiar patterns of everyday life were subject to swift changes and we faced a different and uncertain season of life. One that has lasted far longer than the 40 days of Lent!
When we think of the Wilderness, which is a common theme for Lent, we may view it as a place of testing, purification and stripping away. However, it can also be a place to rest. In the Gospels we see that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places, to be away from the crowds and to spend time with his Father in prayer. Elijah escaped to the wilderness and was provided with bread and water and a chance to sleep and rest, before journeying on to Mount Horeb.
“There is refreshment to be found in the wilderness. There are wells of deep water that never dry up. There is renewal and rest. There is the promise of God’s presence with us.” Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen
There are many resources available to help us on the journey Through Lent. This year I am travelling through Lent with:
Brian Draper He is writing a daily email on weekdays on the theme of Signs of Life and does a live session, on YouTube each Friday at 4.30pm.
Dazzling Darkness. Five evenings of meditation, reflection and creative experience on Zoom, discovering what is vital and life-giving in the shadows. This is being organised through Leicester Cathedral.
Loyola Press produce resources each year for Lent
Pause and Ponder:
- Take a few moments now to reflect on how you are feeling as you enter this season of Lent.
- What words or thoughts of feelings emerge?
- Share these with the Lord.
- Then read the following verses slowly three times and see which word, phrase or verse resonates with you today.
- Spend time pondering on your chosen word, phrase, or verse.
“I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad.” Horatius Bonar
I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:3 (NIV)
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
You might like to record your experience of reflecting on your chosen words or verse, in your journal.