God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Jesus Wandered for 40 days.

This ad from the StillSpeaking Campaign of the United Church of Christ always causes me to stop and think about my own journey with God. How long was I in the wilderness searching for the God I had once encountered as a child? I spent my twenties searching for God and the place and people where I could belong, where I was no longer alone on the journey. This ad speaks to that longing to find a place, a people, and a God. In Exodus 3, Moses has been out with the sheep in the wilderness when he comes upon the mountain of God. Then suddenly there is a voice in the flames of a bush.
3 Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

Most of us have been longing for an encounter with God that will change our lives, an encounter that will lead us to radical changes in the way we live and with the people we are a part of.  We long to find a place where God is present and active, where the questions we have can be explored in a community that is also exploring.  This ad suggests that we as the church are a place where you can find help in your wilderness wanderings. 

This month marks the start of Lent; Jesus withdrew into the wilderness for 40 days. We take this time of 40 days before Easter to remind ourselves of this time when Jesus was apart from God.
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Mark 1:12-13

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4 But he answered, "It is written, "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' " 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, "He will command his angels concerning you,' and "On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.' " 7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' " 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 10 Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, "Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.' " 11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. Matthew 4:1-11
When Jesus went into the desert for 40 days, he was re-enacting the trauma of his people’s slavery in Egypt and their release from captivity. A time when they wandered with and against God, never quite being the people God wanted. God still brought them to the Promised Land where life was supposed to be better. Jesus enters the wilderness to find out where his people went wrong. Why didn’t they achieve the liberation God intended for them? Brian McClaren believes that many people are longing to hear the message of God’s kingdom coming among us. Jesus shared his vision of a new world of compassion, justice, integrity, and peace. This message is the message that people are wanting to hear. It is the good News that they’ve been searching for.

Lent is a time of soul searching, for turning again toward God, and for reviewing your life.  I pray as you enter Lent you draw closer to the one whose Way we follow.

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