February 24, 2010

Wilderness Gifts

We should not be so quick to assume that Jesus' well-attested foray in the wilderness was torturous, and only that. That "blessing is ease and ease signals blessing" is our well-packaged religious assumption, not his. Fierce temptations notwithstanding, there is -- I will argue -- a certain gift of landscaped clarity out in the wilderness space. The barren ground, the long sheet of cracked earth, the absence of cacophonous voices -- the wilderness has a way of subduing the storm of competing demands.  Such a blanket of immense quiet stills even the most internal of voices.  The stillness is only threat if one has come to worship the noise.  Otherwise, there is new space here.  God's flaming wind has room to blow.

In that sense, then -- and since we so rarely have control over our arrival in them -- we should learn to work with the rugged spaces rather than against them.  What is this time about? What is the space working to signal? Where is the Sunday rising?

One matter is for certain: He who sojourned there sojourns now.