Worship in the Wilderness

"Let my people go that they may worship me in the wilderness." ~ Exodus 7:16



As I am writing this front page Lent is still a week away. But by the time you read this we will be two weeks into this Spirit-filled, sacrificial and surprising season. This year we will wander into the wilderness. And we'll do this quite simply because our sisters and brothers did it before us and we continue to do it in our own ways even today. We don't always like to talk about the wilderness. That uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region in which we sometimes find ourselves. We feel tension and anxiety and fear when we are in the wilderness. We also feel alone, even when we are surrounded by people. But sometimes, when we are able to step back, we, like the Israelites, realize that the wilderness can also be a place of provision, transformation and opportunity to grow closer to God. It is almost as though, while in the wilderness, we temporarily find ourselves suspended into another place. And when we are willing to do the hard work of faithfulness and trust we can come out of those seasons with a new understanding of ourselves and our God.

The wilderness is not a place we seek out. In fact, most of us work hard to avoid it whenever possible. And sometimes we even hide behind our faith and God and sort of chalk things off as "just the way it is" or "chin up, everything will work out." But sometimes, those words just aren't any help at all. Sometimes we just need to live in the wilderness for awhile. To feel those strong pangs of hunger and thirst, not for bread and water, but rather for spiritual food. One author says this, "The desolation we often experience involves our yearning for a more palpable feeling of the presence of God."

I want to experience God in my life, I imagine you feel the same. I wonder what we can learn from a trip into the wilderness? What provision waits for us there? How can our faith and our lives be transformed? In what ways will our relationship with God look different some-how after our journey? The season of Lent asks us all of these questions as we wander with Jesus through the wilderness, toward the cross.

Pastor Dawn

p.s. Please take a moment to look at the photos on the side walls of the sanctuary. They were taken by Billy Ansel. I asked him to choose photos that made him think of the wilderness.