A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry? All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:3-8
Today as you read this, I will be away for a Walk to Emmaus at Camp Whispering Pines in Citronelle, Alabama. I will be away from the warmth of my bed, the comfort of my home, and my family. For the first time, in a long time, I will not have a piece of technology in my hand – for four days straight. No phone, no computer, no television, no social media access, no contact with the world— I will be in a modern-day wilderness!
A “wilderness experience” means one leaves their norm and returns with a new insight or perspective. Whether it’s a trip to a third world country or a hike up the mountains – people are stripped of their usual comforts, removed from the safety of familiarity, and forced to see the world from a different vantage point.
At the onset of Jesus’ ministry, John announced his coming in fulfillment of Isaiah 40: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This is the cry of Lent: Prepare the way of the Lord! Make room for him in your thoughts and activities and affections.
Let Us Pray:
Having given up Facebook, to whom will you devote meaningful conversation?
Having given up TV as a default activity, how will you use that time to cultivate quality family time?
Let Us Pray:
Merciful and Ever-present God, we come to you today, realizing we are not how you want us to be. Help us let go of our past and the things that distract us from you, that we may turn toward you and live again, the life of faith. Help us call out our fear and hatred, our anger, and self-pity. Lift the burden they place on our shoulders. Help us set aside our guilt and enter a season of healing. As we pray and fast this Lent, help us become simple people, that we may see you and draw closer to you. Amen.