Lenten Nourishment: Into the Wilderness

Wednesday: What is the meaning of wilderness?

At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild.  For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.  Mark 1:12-17
Jesus gives this example of withdrawing to the wilderness to become focused entirely on God.  In a place away from the influences of society, status, popularity and success, we encouraged to enter our wilderness and open ourselves to God’s leading.  Is there something in your life that is a distraction from seeking spiritual, emotional or physical health?
Consider writing your thoughts in a journal each day during Lent.

Thursday: Meeting God in the Wilderness

Moses was shepherding the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the west end of the wilderness and came to the mountain of God, Horeb.  The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up.  Exodus 3: 1-2
Going into the wilderness allows us to get away from distractions and see reality from our own point of view.  Our modern lives are full of distractions, TV, sports, social media, surfing the internet.  What distractions keep you from looking inward?
Consider journaling.  Consider sitting quietly and feel your breath move in and out of your chest.  Just observe and let yourself settle into your chair.

Friday: Finding Nourishment

God-you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.  A psalm of David when he was in the Judean Wilderness. Psalm 63:1
What are you hungry for?  You may be hungry for friendship or for better health or to feel loved. Each of us is yearning for something deeper in our lives.
Activities: journaling, practicing relaxed breathing, cooking a simple nourishing meal and eating each bite with gratitude.  Walk with Kathy Rhyne at the Monon Center @ 9:30 AM each Friday.  See Upcoming Events section of website for details.

Saturday:  Following God in the Wilderness

They moved on from Succoth and then camped at Etham at the edge of the wilderness.  God went ahead of them in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light; thus they could travel both day and night.  The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night never left the people. Exodus 13:20-22.
The Israelites didn’t lose their way in the wilderness because God gave them guides for day and night.  We still have sign posts along our way, but we have to develop our vision so they become easier to see or hear.  What ways do you find helpful along the path of life?
Activities: Journaling, relaxed time of breathing, try taking a walk in nature.

Sunday: Getting Away from the Crowds

When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out of the way place by himself.  Matthew 14:13
Our world is a noisy place.  It is getting busier and more crowded.  Jesus demonstrates that he needs to step back and be still for a while. Would this time of Lent be a good time for you to limit your use of social media, web surfing and TV watching?  Would it be helpful to create a plan for renewal?  What would that look like?
Small group meditation on Sunday night at Bill Heitman’s office.  See Upcoming Events section of website for details.

Monday:  Practicing Peace with Ourselves

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Eph 3:17-19
“We can have hearts that are full of love for others and intentions to love that are pure. But the truth is, we will express that love for others by treating them the same way we treat ourselves.  Love lies at the core of nonviolence and begins with our love of self, not a love that is ego-centric but a love that is forgiving and lenient; a love that sees the humor in the imperfections and accepts the fullness of the human expression.”  Deborah Adele.
Today, listen to your inner talk.  How do you treat yourself?  With kindness and understanding or with criticism and judgment?  Observe.   Write down any observations.  Talk to God about what you have noticed.

Tuesday: Finding God Again and Again

“I do not know the course I am to run, all is hidden in mystery, but I try to do right in everything.  Look up to true religion as the very first of blessings, cherish it, nourish and let it flourish and bloom in your heart; it wants to be taken care of, it can be difficult to obtain.  I must not despair or grow skeptical if I do not always feel religious.  I felt God as it were, and I must seek to find Him again.”  Elizabeth Fry, 1798
It is not unusual to feel separated from God. Even great spiritual leaders have times of doubt and longing.  Spend some time in quiet reflection.  Can you remember a time when you felt close to God? Let that memory fill you.  Consider writing that experience in your journal.   What activities this week have brought you closer to God?