This week, we’ve entered a season in the church year known as Lent; a time of penitence and preparation for Easter. This began with Ash Wednesday, a time of marking our foreheads with ash, and hearing the sobering reminder, all the more poignant in these times, held in the traditional words, “Remember we are dust, and to dust we shall return.”
Some eleven months into the pandemic season, there is a sense that we’ve already been living in a kind of Lent, with some of the deprivation, solitude, and reflection usually reserved for these contemplative seasons. Our reading for this Sunday is of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. In Mark’s version of this story, there are few details, only that he was tempted and was with the wild animals, ministered to by angels.
Lent this year comes with a call to face down the temptation to inertia and detachment, to insularity and discouragement. We are to look for the angels who come in dry and dusty times, as God seeks to rekindle our spirit within us.
A poet of Iona pens a prayer:
Pale winter sun,
flooding the earth
with your light,
gilding the bare and icy trees
with your touch.
Your eyes have seen
the glory of the Lord.
Low white candles of hope,*
palely gleaming in the white earth,
your advent heralds
the promise of Spring;
your green hearts
speak of God’s renewing love.
Son of God,
show us the way.
Light our path
Lead us through this Lenten desert
to Easter with you
beyond the pain
of loss and fear
as we journey from wilderness to feast,
from desert to oasis.
May nature’s white candles of hope
light our journey
through Lent and beyond.
*She writes of the green heart of the white snow-drop flower,
which blooms in Scotland this time of year. From Kate McIlhagga,
Green Heart of the Snowdrop, “Promise of Spring”
May angels care for you along your Lenten journey,