Testing ground

(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)

The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery has a lengthy entry on Wilderness, ending with the following summary:

“… the wilderness is an ambivalent image in the Bible. If it is a place of deprivation, danger, attack and punishment, it is also the place where God delivers his people, provides for them and reveals himself.”

Some of this tension is found in this short reading that ties together the baptism and temptation of Jesus, with the Holy Spirit playing an active role in both:

Mark 1:9-13: The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Litany for Lent

Because temptation is woven into the fabric of our lives,
and we know the weariness of forty days in the desert,
and the beckoning power of sweet fruit,
and the vain promises of the world,
we need you, God.
We need you, God.

Because we see the broken before the whole,
and the half empty cup, and the unfinished task,
and the thirst in freedom’s quest,
we need you, God.
We need you, God.

Because we trust in what we can see,
and we are blinded by our prejudices,
and we do not know what we do not know,
we need you, God.
We need you, God.

Because our need for correctness exceeds our need for truth,
and our excuses preempt the cry of the wounded,
and our celebration of blessing is mindless of those displaced,
we need you, God.
We need you, God.

Because you came among us,
and breathed into our sinewy souls,
and healed our pain and let us wound you,
and loved us to the end,
and triumphed over all our hatred,
we need you, God.
We need you, God.

written by Katherine Hawker (inspired by Iona Community Worship Book, 2002). Posted on Ponderings

From the blog
see also Theme: Ever sustaining (Prayer sheet)

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