A Letter from the Vicar
In the Wilderness
We are in the season of Lent, a time of reflection and repentance within the church’s year. If we were in church at this time the colour would be purple, the same as Advent which is a preparation time leading up to Christmas.
Lent is also a time of preparation leading up to Easter, but it is by no means clear this year whether or not we will be able to meet at Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. But at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry the Spirit led him into the wilderness. The glories of Easter Day could not have been achieved had Jesus not journeyed through the wilderness, and maybe it’s the same for you and me.
However, it feels that we have been in the wilderness for a very long time. Many have been holding out for the vaccine to arrive, and it is very encouraging that the rollout is going so well. However, a familiar phrase that is being mentioned at present is “until the whole world is safe, none of us are safe!” So maybe the vaccination programme is an oasis amidst the vast desert that is Covidia, but we will need to continue to journey through the wilderness for some time yet.
Where to find Strength in the Wilderness?
One of the messages during Advent is that God is Emmanuel. The title Emmanuel means ‘God is with us’ and perhaps this Lent we need to understand the meaning of Emmanuel for each of us as we journey through the wilderness. The message that God seems to be emphasising to me at this time is He is with us in the 'wilderness' of this pandemic. A new song that was brought to my attention recently is called Wilderness, written by Stuart Garrard, who was a member of Delirious. The lyrics seem to me to be a prayer of hope. Here's the chorus - I hope the words encourage you:
Lord lead us through the wilderness
We trust that you'll provide
Be our cloud by day and our fire by night
And when we reach the other side
We'll look back and all we'll see
Is your goodness.
Isaiah 41 v 10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
May you find that God is good and that you are strengthened by him as we continue our journey through the wilderness.