Last Sunday the gospel text was Luke 4:1-13. You know the one..."Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness..."
The sermon offered three main questions for me to think about:
1. What is the wilderness for me in this time of my life?
2. What am I full of?
3. What are my core temptations?
That wilderness, for me, is that unsure place - where I am not sure what is next and not sure what is emerging as a result of being not sure. Sounds circular. Feels that way, too. Not only am I working in an unfamiliar region (The South) where eating meat is the central topic at lunch (I'm a vegetarian), I am in an ecumenical setting where the liturgical calendar is not central - Jesus is. Oh, and by the way my one-year residency will be finished in four months. What is next for me? I could go on, but suffice it to say that my wilderness is vast and desert-like. (Thankfully, my colleagues are holding my hand and guiding me along the way.)
What am I full of? Well, Ursula, my inner critic wants to cry out that I'm full of ... well you fill in the blank. My loving and compassionate self wants to answer that I'm full of hope. Most of the time. My intimates would reveal that I'm often hopeful, even though I do battle depression on occasion. That hope, for me, leads me to Jerusalem this Lent.
As for my core temptations, this Lent they are right in the cross hairs of my spiritual life. Be rigorously honest. Convert condemnation to compassion. Allow the tension of complacency.
This Lent, I am, with God's help, going to be present to my Now and take on my Wilderness.