A Connected Christmas | Day 2: A Gift In The Wilderness
The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him. Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. – Mark 1: 12 – 14
Things take quite an unexpected turn after this moment. I think we can all relate to that can’t we? 2020 was a rollercoaster for us all, with our plans crumbling before our eyes.
No one relishes wilderness time – it’s full of uncertainty and worry. The desert is the place where the ‘wild beasts’ lie in wait. We would prefer to stay busy and on the move so as to not give them a chance to corner us. We would rather work on ourselves or fix others instead of allowing the ‘angels to wait on us’. We live in a culture of non-wisdom that encourages this restlessness. Yet, if we can sit with these we find, as Richard Rohr suggests, that ‘loneliness, and boredom are the places where spiritual energy is stored’.
If we want to join God’s exciting mission, we mustn’t rush into action as a way of escaping our own pain. Instead we must, as Henri Nouwen so beautifully pointed out, be prepared to offer ourselves to the world as ‘wounded healers’. Not as one who has all the answers, but one who points towards a God who is love, a God who won’t break ‘a bruised reed, or put out a flickering candle’.
Then we can move out into this world with love and grace. In a world of uncertainty that’s looking for cheap answers, we can instead offer the greatest present of all, our presence. At Wayside, we know that it’s not hard for a person to fall into a hole so deep that they can feel like nothing from within remains. Sometimes hope has to be caught rather than conjured. Our workers leap into deep holes and, without fairy-stories or false promises, they’ll hold a hand and gently walk with someone to a new day – one tiny step at a time.
written by JON OWEN
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