The Rev. Peter A. Lane
“From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded.”
We are halfway through our Lenten journey and so I thought I would check in with you and ask, How has your journey been so far? There are so many stories in scripture of spiritual journeys, including the iconic story of the people of Israel’s journey of forty years through the wilderness toward the promised land, and Jesus’s forty days in the wilderness prior to the start of his ministry. We can even see that Jesus’ whole three year ministry was a journey as he travelled from village to town to city and finally to Calvary.
There are several universal characteristics to spiritual journeys including struggle, confrontation, silence, scarcity, longing, discovery and revelation, peace, and hopefully in the end, a sense of arriving at a new incarnation of your life. But the journey is rarely easy and so it can be helpful to be reminded that, although spiritual journeys are often marked by extended periods of solitude, we are never truly alone.
Our poem for this week from the Irish poet and theologian Kate McIlhagga is a beautiful description of both the struggle inherent in spiritual journeys and the reasons we are drawn, or sometimes pushed, to travel a wilderness path for a season. My prayer for all of us is that this holy season of Lent will continue to provide us with the opportunity to journey through what might at times seem like a wilderness but is always drawing us closer to our desire for a deeper walk with God.
Lent is not for the faint-hearted
Lent is not for the faint-hearted.
It demands that we, like Thomas,
Put our hand into the side of the crucified Christ.
Lent is a journey towards the cross,
A journey of enlightenment:
From wilderness to feast,
From desert to oasis.
It’s an attempt to identify with the powerless
And the suffering in the world.
Lent is not tidy.
The days grow longer,
The ground thaws, there’s mud and dirt everywhere
And the windows need cleaning.
Lent is a journey.
So at the end of Lent
We should expect to find ourselves
Somewhere different from where we started.
Lent can be an opportunity
To explore what is the nature
Of the promised Kingdom of God on earth
That we long for;
A time to discern
How we are called to work for it.
No, Lent is not for the faint-hearted!