The following is Associate Rector Areeta Bridgemohan’s monthly opening message from our weekly e-newsletter the St. Georgian. If you’d like to receive our weekly e-newsletter, sign-up here.
Wilder · ness
“state of the wild”
The Rev. Lisle Garrity, Founder and Creative Director of A Sanctified Art, a collective of artists and ministers seeking to offer their gifts to the church and to the world, will be our Lenten weekend facilitator this year. Her group has developed Lenten resources on the theme of wilderness, and St. George’s will be drawing on their resources this Lent.
The wilderness is an important space in our sacred story. The wilderness is a place of despair, barrenness, wandering, exploration, growth and purification. The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. In that time, they learned about trusting God, about waiting patiently, and they learned about the risk and the possibilities of freedom. Daily, they relied on God to feed their bodies with manna. They relied on God to feed their souls by holding fast to the promise that God would lead them to the promised land. This was a critical time in the formation of the community’s identity.
Lent also begins in the wilderness. On the First Sunday of Lent we’ll hear that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matt 4:1a). Although the wilderness may seem to have limited signs of life, God uses it to spark spiritual growth. Sometimes the wilderness helps us see more clearly where God is active and moving. Sometimes the wilderness helps us let go of the baggage we don’t need but stubbornly or mindlessly cling to. Sometimes the wilderness leaves us with no choice but to trust God. Sometimes the wilderness helps us discover treasures in the world that we overlooked and reveals hidden treasures within ourselves. In our wandering in the wilderness, we discover that there is no place in our lives or in our souls where God does not dwell. May this Lent be a time for us to discover what God has in store in the wilderness.
Your sister in Christ,
The Rev. Sarah Are, A Sanctified Art (2020)
One: God is in the water that restores our soul.
All: And God is in the night when we lose our way.
One: God is in today and tomorrow, raising up leaders, prophets and dreamers.
All: And God is in the wilderness with us—every step of the way.
One: So with confidence we declare—
All: If God is in those spaces, then God is surely here.
One: Let us worship the God of creation.
All: Let us worship the God of wilderness spaces.