Day 4: wild green clump

12 03 2011

I’m moving on to the Gospel text for the first Sunday in Lent, so that I can be thinking about it a bit before tomorrow. So my photo from today and the next several days will be visual reflections from Matthew 4:1-11, the temptation of Jesus.

wild green thing

Wilderness. Jesus was led into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil. A bit hard to fathom, and yet it was part of his preparation for earthly ministry. I don’t think the same holds true for us—that God leads us into the wilderness so we can be tested, strengthened… or somehow learn a lesson. I just don’t.

I do believe that God is present in the wilderness, even when we are so convinced that God has left the universe. I do believe that God helps us through the wilderness—whatever that looks like for each of us. And I do believe that some wildernesses last a very, very, very long time.

Grace to you, if you are struggling through one right now.

Grace to you, if you are looking for hopeful, green signs that God is present.

Grace to those who are suffering unimaginable tragedies this weekend… My prayers are with you, and my hope is that you know God is present.

Day 3: so it won’t be obvious

12 03 2011

Day 3: so it won't be obvious

“If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices.” (The Message).

I love this paraphrase of the familiar: “when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face” (TNIV). Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase helps me think about why I do the things I do. There shouldn’t be any concern that I might stop washing my hair. At least not voluntarily. That’s not going to happen, barring some obvious message from God.

But are there other things I might –even subconsciously–want to call attention to? Do I even do some things “for God”, while hoping people take notice? And if I do, what steps can I take to shift focus from me to God? What about you?