Sunday, 1 January 2012


It was moving to spend even a brief time, as we did, walking in the wilderness and thinking of the times Jesus spent there as well as those times when he must have passed that way.  Obviously we could not know exactly where Jesus spent time but, as we were there, we knew that it must be 'somewhere around here'.
The wilderness - unsurprisingly - is a rather bleak location, with the sand and rocks stretching out in front of where we stood.  There were very few signs of vegetation.  It had that feeling of loneliness, bleakness and even being abandoned.  It is certainly a place to get away from it all.  We walked there, knowing that our bus was only just out of view, and yet able to feel just a little of what it would be like to be in the midst of that place with no 21st century transport. 

The wilderness can be a place to reflect and to pray, but it is also a place where you don't want to spend too long.  It can be worth spending time in the wilderness, but very few want to stay there that long.  The wilderness is a place to leave behind - when the time is right to do so.

It seemed appropriate that we were there as the day was heading towards dusk.  For me that emphasised the sense of space and also of isolation - and yet we could also know, as Jesus surely did, the presence of God even in the bleakness of the desert.

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