The Journey Beyond Ourselves

Water13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 17: 1-9)

I remember when John baptized him.  Jesus, dressed in white, got into the water and John pushed his head under.  As he emerged, the heavens seemed to open as if God was pleased.  It was special, sort of an affirmation of who he was, who I had known he was all along.  In that moment, I began to understand that his role was bigger than our family, bigger than my son, even bigger than these that he had gathered around him.  I knew that but in that moment I began to understand it.  I was here to walk with him as he prepared not only to be a rabbi, a teacher, but to take on the ministry to which God called him.  And in that moment in the waters of re-creation, his ministry began.  This is the moment when God claims this child of God as the One who God calls.  This was the becoming and the beginning that he needed.  I had to begin to let go of what I knew.

I thought back to that time in Jerusalem when we found him in the temple with the rabbis.  My first reaction was relief that he was found.  I wanted to take him and hold him and never let him loose again.  My next reaction was anger that he had worried us so.  But the scene of him sitting there listening to the rabbis, understanding more than most adults will ever understand, made up for it all.  I knew then that he was beyond me, that I was here only for a time to help lead him to what he was called to do.  I knew that he was meant to be something more even than what I had thought.

So many of us get so wrapped up in those things that we can control or those that make us at least feel in control.  We want to be safe and comfortable.  So in this Christmas season, we often tend to wrap ourselves in our shopping, our plans for meals, and our family gatherings, our traditions of the way we do things and the expectations that they will be like they’ve been before.  These memories remind us all that we are continuously called beyond ourselves.  God calls us to newness, even in the midst of the familiar traditions that are so much a part of us.  That is the way God transforms us.  That is the way God moves us beyond ourselves.  That is the way God loves us.

God travels wonderful paths with human beings; God does not arrange matters to suit our opinions and views, does not follow the path that humans would like to prescribe for God.  God’s path is free and original beyond all our ability to understand or to prove.   (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

FOR TODAY:  How is God moving you beyond yourself?  How is God bringing newness even to the traditions that you hold so closely?

Peace to you as we come closer to that holiest of nights,

Shelli

With the Turn of a Page

book-pages-16-12-22Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17: 1-9)

I am thinking about all of the ministry, all of the good that he did in those short years.  He was so good to those that had believed in him and had followed him through so much. And they were so devoted.  And, slowly, slowly they began to understand what I did—that this man was the very essence of God, that this man was the Word made flesh.  It was hard for me to understand and I had actually had that incredible encounter with the angel.  But for those who followed him, these were men and women of faith, men and women who chose to put themselves aside and do God’s work.  They had not had a dream with an angel or one where God spoke to them.  They had not seen the brilliance of that star that shone over Bethlehem and seemed to point to what had happened.  These were ordinary people who had families and lives but who believed that they were a part of something beyond themselves.

I was not there that day when Jesus led some of them up to that mountain top.  I was not there when he was changed into light right before their eyes.  I was not there when God intervened.  I was not there when all of the Law and all of the Prophets and all of history came spilling into our ordinary lives on that mountain.  But to hear Peter and James and John describe it, it was amazing.  I was not there but it was still my story.  And I realized in that moment that God’s coming did not begin with me.  I realized that I was blessed to be a part of it, an instrument that God called to be a page in a story.  It was a story that had begun to be written long before I was born and one that will continue far beyond me.  But I think that it was there on that mountaintop that it all came together.  And the brilliance of it all was more than any of us could take for very long.  Sometimes we have to look away and begin writing to grasp it at all.

And then Jesus descended the mountain with the faithful at his side and headed into Jerusalem.  I would have liked to stop it there.  I would have liked to find a way to freeze the frame of the story, to close the book and protect the pages that were already there.  But the story had to go on.  I understand that so well now.  And the faithful understand that.  The faith-filled men and women since the beginning have understood that they are not the story but that the story is incomplete without them.  So they find their voice and they find their faith and they walk down the mountain with our Lord.  We all have a page to write.  The story would go on without it, but God would rather have them all.

But whether small or great, and no matter what the stage or grade of  life, the call brings up the curtain, always, on a miracle of transfiguration-a rite, or moment, of spiritual passage, which, when complete, amounts to a dying and a birth.  The familiar life horizon has been outgrown, the old concepts, ideals, and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for the passing of a threshold is at hand. (Joseph Campbell)

FOR TODAY:  What is on your page?

Peace to you as we come closer to that holiest of nights,

Shelli

When You Come to the Gate

710px-Golden_Gate_Jerusalem_2009
The Eastern Gate (or Golden Gate), Jerusalem (sealed in 1541)

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11: 1-11)

I remember that day that he entered Jerusalem.  Was that only a week ago?  It seems like a lifetime ago.  It was celebratory and wonderful.  The crowds were at ease, laughing, having a good time.  The young colt was almost comic relief as Jesus’ feet hung down and almost dragged the stones beneath.  After the long trip through the desert, this was the entrance into the city.  No one knew what would happen.  No one knew whether he would be accepted as a leader the way he finally began to be in Galilee or whether it would turn terribly wrong.  We know how it turned out now, but at the time we were holding onto hope that it might go smoothly.

I also remember that by the time we reached the gate to the city, our crowd had dwindled considerably.  Where did everyone go?  I supposed back to their lives.  How many times do we choose to return to our lives rather than stepping forward through the gate?  For me, I am so grateful that I did not do that years ago when the angel came to me.  Perhaps my life would have been easier, more predictable, certainly safer.  But it would not have been the right life for me.  This, this was the life that God envisioned for me.  That’s why it feels so right.  Sometimes it is painful.  Sometimes it is downright scary. But more often it is filled with the glorious blessings I’ve had.

I wonder where most of us would have been that day had we known.  It would have been so easy to turn back, so tempting to try to convince him to turn back, to go elsewhere with his ministry where he would be accepted and even welcomed.  But I understand now that God calls us to walk through the wilderness, to traverse the unknown, to step forward through the gates that life presents in faith.  God doesn’t call us to walk roads that have been paved over and over by others but rather to embark on the rough-hewed roads that need our work.  It is only then that we can become who God intends us to be.  It is only then that it feels right.  For me, it has been the difference between an easy life and one that is truly blessed.  I pray that the generations that follow me will grasp that and have the courage to go through the gate.

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, Give me a light that I might go safely out into the darkness. And he replied, Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be more to you than a light, and safer than a known way. (M. L. Haskins)

FOR TODAY:  What gate are you being called to enter?

Peace to you as we come closer to that holiest of nights,

Shelli

Speechless

Joseph with Infant Christ (Murillo)
“Joseph With Infant Christ”, Bartoleme’ Estaban Murillo, 1665-1666, Museum of Fine Arts, Sevilla, Spain

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah* took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’22All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;* and he named him Jesus.
(Matthew 1: 18-25)

The writer known as Matthew is the one that gives Joseph his moment.  But, interestingly enough, he doesn’t even get a chance to ask a question (like, “How can this be?”)  or voice his opinion or perhaps shake his fist in utter disbelief.  I don’t know if it’s the moment or the Scripture, but Joseph is somehow rendered speechless.  He’s not even given a small speaking role.  Instead, Joseph, who had apparently already decided what he was going to do (a plan that it should be noted in the face of the tradition was merciful and compassionate).  He was going to quietly dismiss her.  And, I suppose, Joseph would have faded into the pages of the story with no other mention.  Perhaps Mary could have gotten help from her cousins.  They probably would have put her up.  And Jesus and John would have grown up like brothers.  It could have all worked out, but that’s not what happened.  Because in this moment, Joseph is handed a dream.

It was apparently a wild fit of a dream.  I mean, the Lord came.  That cannot have been a comfortable situation.  And, true to form, God tells him not to be afraid.  “Oh, no,” Joseph thought, “I have read this before.  When the Lord tells you not to be afraid, things tend to happen–things like the floor of your world on which your standing giving way and you falling uncontrollably into something that you never imagined and for which you certainly could never have planned.  Hold on!”  And the Lord hands him a story that doesn’t even make sense.  Joseph is being asked to step back into the story.  And oh what a story it has become.  Joseph is being asked to raise the child that IS the Messiah.  Joseph is being asked to love him and guide him and discipline him (Good grief, how do you discipline a Messiah?  I mean, does he get like some sort of Divine time out?)  Joseph is even told what to name the child.

Well, I’m betting that Joseph’s first thought when he awoke was that he had eaten some bad shrimp or something (wait, that wouldn’t be…crustaceans and all…maybe he wondered if he had had a bad piece of lamb).  He probably laid there for a few minutes processing it all.  I mean, remember, the verses before the ones we read remind us that Joseph was descended from a long line of dreamers.  In fact, old Grandpa Jacob (like 34 “greats” ago) had fought back, wrestling until the break of day!  Remember that?  And then Joseph got up and moved out of the way and followed.  He had plans.  He had a reputation to think of.  He had a face that he had to present to the temple.  He had a life.  But Joseph moved aside and fell speechless.  And then God gave him his voice.

Advent should be our reminder to fall speechless, to get out of the way, and listen.  We, too, will be given our voice.

You must give birth to your images.  They are the future waiting to be born.  Fear not the strangeness you feel.  The future must enter you long before it happens.  Just wait for the birth, for the hour of new clarity.” (Rainer Maria Rilke)

FOR TODAY:  Shhhh!  Fall silent and let the Lord give you your voice.

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

Wilderness Re-Created

14-11-02-#6-Sermon-Thin PlaceScripture Text:  John 20: 1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

Whew!  We made it through the wilderness.  The tomb is open and all is good.  The morning was glorious, full of light and life and, finally, alleluias.  THE LORD IS RISEN!  THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!  The long Lenten wilderness journey is behind us.  Whew!  We made it!

But don’t you remember what kept happening in the wilderness?  In the wilderness, when we’re so unsure of where to go, when darkness seems to overtake us at times, when we often feel stripped of all we know, God comes.  God comes and re-creates in the most incredible ways.  God comes and brings light into darkness and life into death.  God comes and we are changed forever.  That happens in the wilderness when we no longer have the familiar and the comfortable to which we can hold.  Like Mary at the tomb, we are reminded to not hold on to what we know but rather to open our hands to the newness that God offers.

After Lent, we go back to our lives.  The time of giving up and emptying out is behind us.  So with what do we fill our lives?  If we go back and pick up where we left off, cramming our lives full of all the stuff that we just stored in the closet for the season, it will all be for naught.  But if we finally know that in all of God’s resurrecting, we, too, were raised.  If we remember that in all of God’s re-creating, even the wilderness, the chaos, was made new again.  If we find ourselves with eyes that see differently and hearts that beat in new ways, we will see that the wilderness is where we are meant to be.  We were never meant to settle into ways of thinking and be satisfied with routine ways of being.  Instead we are called to go forth into newness, into what we do not know, down roads that our faith calls us to follow.

It seems that God is continually calling us into places and times that we’ve never been, constantly empowering us to push the limits of our “comfort zones”, to embark on a larger and more all-encompassing journey toward a oneness with God.  It seems that God always calls us beyond where we are and beyond where we’ve been, not to the places that are planted and built and paved over with our preconceptions and biases but, rather, to places in the wilds of our lives with some vision of a faint pathway that we must pave and on which we must trudge ahead.  Perhaps, then, this wilderness journey is not one in which we launch out and pursue a new life but is instead one that brings us to the center of our own life, one that brings us home, but changed.

The end of all our exploring…will be to arrive where we started…and know the place for the first time.  (T.S. Eliot)

FROM NOW ON:  Make the wilderness journey your home.

 

Well, we have come to the end of the season.  I am honored that once again so many of my old friends joined me for the journey.  And along the way, there were others that I am so grateful chose to join us.  That’s what happens when you travel unfamiliar roads!  I’m going to take a break from the “every day” writing and will try to post at least once a week or so.  Stay tuned!  Keep journeying!  AND, email me and let me know YOUR thoughts!  I’m going to try to put my email in “code” below my name so the spammers don’t find me, but you are smart people and you can figure it out!  Thank you again for journeying with me!  Happy Easter!  WE ARE RISEN!  WE ARE RISEN INDEED!

 

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

Shelli Williams 13 (run all those together), then [that funny little a with the circle], gmail.com

The Wilderness is Where We Found Who We Are

Diving into watersScripture Text:  Mark 1: 4-11

4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of  sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

So Jesus was born in the wilderness.  So Jesus, even as a small child, was whisked off into the wilderness to surely save his life.  And now, Jesus goes into the wilderness and is baptized by John.  You see, Jesus wasn’t baptized at the beautiful marble or wood font that is in the front of your sanctuary.  Jesus wasn’t baptized surrounded by the comforts of air conditioning and pew cushions.  When Jesus knelt, there was no altar cushion beneath his knees.  There was no celebratory lunch after his baptism.  Jesus went into the wilderness and made his way into the cold water of the Jordan, feeling it first with his foot and then slowly, ever so slowly, making his way to the place where John stood.  And as he walked into the water, his clothes and his body were consumed by the waters and the chill overwhelmed him.  And then John, clothed in stinky wet camel’s hair with a sagging leather belt around his waist, gingerly took Jesus and pushed him beneath the swirling waters of the river.  “In the Name of God, I baptize you.”  And as Jesus rose out of the water, gasping for breath, he looked up and the heavens were torn apart, torn apart never to be put back in quite the same way again, never capable of going back to the way they were.  And from this gaping opening in the heavens, the Spirit seemed to descend like a dove.  And they all heard it.  “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

In that moment, there in the wilderness, Jesus found who he was.  There in the wilderness with the wild animals and the blowing sands and the swirling waters of the river Jesus found who he was.  There in the wilderness where life is wild and unpredictable, where the path is not as worn as the one we frequent in the city, where the dwelling place is open to the sky and not walled in, where nothing can be controlled and nothing can be held, Jesus found who he was.  It seems to me that Jesus keeps returning to the wilderness, keeps returning to the place where we don’t expect him to be.  Perhaps our cue is that we are called to do the same.  Perhaps the wilderness is where we find who we are.

You see, in the comforts of our homes, in the security of our lives, in the places where we close our doors and lock them off to the world, we are told what we should be.  We are told that we should pursue success and affirmation, that we should climb the ladder with our accomplishments and our resume’.  We are made to believe that if we mingle with the right people and show up in the right places and post cute little pictures and statements on social media, we will get somewhere.  But in the wilderness, where the pathway is unpredictable and not well-trodden, where we experience some discomfort and disillusionment with who we are, where we experience crises of identity and crises of faith, where we feel like we don’t fit and we don’t belong, where we feel, sometimes, like we can’t even connect with God there, there, we find who we are.  We are pushed down into the waters of unknowing and we emerge with a new perspective.  We are immersed in something that we do not control and cannot stop and find new ways to be.  And the heavens open and the very Spirit of God spills onto us.  And we hear it.  We hear who we are, a daughter or son of God, God’s Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.

Maybe we’re beginning to see a pattern here.  Jesus’ life was not exactly charmed in the worldly sense of the word.  It seems, rather, that the wilderness kept cropping up, somehow pulling him into its grip.  I don’t think it was a test.  I think it was God’s way of pulling us toward freedom, God’s way of releasing us from the expectation of others, from the assumptions that the world hands us of who we are supposed to be, that there is a certain path and a certain way that our life has laid out for us.  Jesus’s life was mostly about walking in the wilderness, walking the way that was not the expected, that was not the norm, walking the way that opened himself to being immersed so that, finally, he could find who he was.

Perhaps that’s the point of our Lenten journey.  It is not just a denying ourselves of something; it is not just doing something different, walking a different walk for a short season.  This Lenten journey forces us into the wilderness, with cold water and murky pathways and hands us a mirror so that we take a good hard look at our lives and finally, finally find who we are:  A daughter or son of God, God’s Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.  And knowing who we are, everything has changed.

It is in the act of offerings our hearts in faith that something in us transforms…proclaiming that we no longer stand on the sidelines but are leaping directly into the center of our lives, our truth, our full potential. (Sharon Salzberg)

FOR TODAY:  Let yourself go into the wilderness.  Immerse yourself.  Find who you are—a daughter or son of God, God’s Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

A Much-Needed Wilderness

ivan-nikolaevich-kramskoy-christ-in-the-desert1Scripture Text:  Luke 4: 1-2

 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.

 

Yes, as a matter of fact, this IS the third time we’ve heard this account as part of our wilderness journey. But we haven’t heard it from the same Gospel-writer.  All three of the synoptic Gospels include the account of Jesus being led into the wilderness following his Baptism. It’s one of the few passages that was not only included by each writer, but actually was included within pretty much the same sequence in the happenings of Jesus’ life. There doesn’t seem to be any need on the part of any of the writers to “rearrange” things to further the focus that the writer was trying to impart. It’s just included. It’s part of the story. Apparently, each Gospel account recognizes this as, for want of a better word, a much-needed wilderness.

 

So have you ever thought of the wilderness as something that we NEED? We probably spend more time trying our very best to avoid it or, if it can’t be avoided, to at least hurry to the end, trying to cram as much as we can into it, but with the goal to get to the end as soon as possible so that we can go back to normal, go back to our lives. But Jesus was led into the wilderness and stayed for forty days. He had just been baptized. According to the Scriptures, John the Baptist had just pointed to who he was and what his life meant. God had proclaimed him the “Beloved”, and had voiced what pleasure the Divine took in him. He was set to go, set to begin his ministry. Standing there on the banks of the Jordan, he was ready to begin. And he did. He began with what was apparently a much-needed wilderness.

 

So for forty days, Jesus wandered in the wilderness. Sure, he was tempted to control it, tempted to overpower it, tempted to make it his. He was probably tempted to go home, although none of the Gospel-writers wrote that one down. But he didn’t. He walked the wilderness. He prayed, he looked at himself, he talked to God. My guess is that he probably argued with and questioned God a bit. (Well, maybe that’s what I would have done!) The wilderness was not any easier for Jesus than it is for us. But Jesus knew that he had to embrace the time, that preparing himself for the years to come, for the tiresome tasks of serving others, for the draining tasks of healing and teaching, for the frustrating tasks of calling others who did not always stay on the path, for the disheartening tasks of rejection and difficulty and questions, and, finally, finally, for the implausible task of walking to the Cross, had to be done in this wilderness. This wilderness would give him what he needed and he knew it. It was the place where he had to let go of his own plans and his own preconceptions of what his life would hold. It was the place where he had to take a good hard luck at himself, at the ways that he stood in the way of his own life. It was the place where he would know, finally know, that he WAS God’s Beloved with whom God was well pleased and that God would never forsake him. It was the place that, finally, Jesus knew who he was and what he was called to do.

 

We need the wilderness experience just as badly. It’s not a place where we prove our love to God or where we show how strong or how spiritual or how faithful we are. It is the place where we finally get out of ourselves, out of our routines, off the path that we have so carefully carved out for our lives, and, finally, without being able to see where we are going, we know that we are on the right path. It is the place where we can come to know who we are and what we are called to do.   Now we are ready to begin. And we return from the wilderness as a different one, as one who knows ourself as God’s Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.  We will return famished and ready to fill ourselves with God.

 

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work. And when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. (Wendell Berry)

 

FOR TODAY:  Look around you.  Quit trying to figure a way out.  Just walk through the wilderness and see what God has to show you.

Grace and Peace,

Shelli