Through God, with God, and because of God life comes from barrenness! And through the trial of acknowledging our empty wombs, i.e. our propensities to neglect God, naturally doubt might engulf us at times. Likewise, doubting the mysteries of faith might even accompany our longings to find God as well. But take heart, for just as Joe reminded us that all great s/heroes of the faith like Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah (even the others honored in Hebrews 11!) battled with seasons of intense questions and disbelief, we are not alone in our wandering and seeking. One of my favorite homiletical heroes is Fred Craddock. During Lent he says, "This walk to Jerusalem is becoming more like a climb. But the hills do give me better perspective."
Ahh, so much seems to hinge on our perspective, does it not? Our perspectives on life, on barrenness, on doubt, or on the trials that come from seeking God and living as if we are being redeemed. Does life only seem like a climb, not to Palm Sunday, but to the wilderness--the place we saw Jesus last week and Abraham this week? Take a minute to consider your own perspective on where God might be calling you to journey. Are you on the way up or stuck in a valley?
I encourage you to strap on tightly your hiking boots, grab a walking stick if need be, and venture further up those peaks of discipleship and faith. For just as Craddock climbs onward, may we join him and together understand how the perspective at the summit is full of grace and peace. The journey of Lent provides new routes on which we can accept and embrace God's presence. For God is with you, navigating this journey.
We know that Jesus recited part of Psalm 22 while he was on the cross. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Did you know that the Psalm ends triumphantly? Vs 26-27, "The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord..." How wonderful to think that perhaps Jesus may have recited the Psalm in its entirety. And if not, today we can recite all of it together. What a perspective from the top of the hill!
Questions for Reflection:
Do we dare to journey into the wilderness with God? Do we believe that God is with us in the unknowing wilderness or on the hills that we must climb to know God more?
Work your grace in us, O God, that we, too, may come to see that the hills offer a more complete perspective.
Do not forsake us.
Though we may feel like worms and not human, mocked or exhausted,
Do not be far from us.
Even though we walk a barren path, you give us life.
Therefore our congregation comes to you with praise.
To, you, O God, be glory and honor forever.
Peace from a fellow wanderer on the Lenten path,