TEXT: Luke 4:1-13
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness … (Luke 4:1)
And so begins our Lenten walk.
Forty days in the wilderness.
Forty days with Jesus.
With Jesus, and yet somehow also very alone
Forty days, actually, following behind Jesus,
trying to keep track of his footprints
in the desert sand.
Looking for him
and yet never quite catching sight of him
in this desolate place
where wild beasts and demons confront us
and threaten us
and challenge us
and bring us face to face with
Wild beasts and demons.
All that we have been and
all that we fear we may become
or fear that we might be called to become.
Guilt and shame.
Grief and regret and
roads not taken.
Opportunities that terrify us.
Visions from which we would avert our gaze.
Diagnoses, sentences, finalities
which bring, all at once
into sharpest focus.
And scare the hell out of us.
And force us
look for God within the wilderness
the dust which formed us.
And through it all
the question haunts us:
Dare we sing “alleluia!”
the midst of Lent?
Thou only art immortal,
the Creator and Maker of mankind;
and we are mortal, formed of the earth,
and unto earth shall we return.
For so thou didst ordain when thou createdst me, saying,
Dust thou art,
and unto dust shalt thou return.
All we go down to the dust;
yet even at the grave we make our song:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.