People of faith are struggling these days as they watch unbelievable events unfold around the world. The environment groans under the heavy weight of humanity’s footsteps, yet some people still are convinced climate change is a myth. The United States, once a refuge for immigrants, has closed its borders to many of the most vulnerable citizens of this world. Fear of people different from us, whether because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, or something else, has created an atmosphere of hatred, incivility, and violence. We are living in a time of wilderness and exile.
Yet the wilderness is a familiar, if often uncomfortable, place for those who follow Jesus. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry, we spend 40 days in the wilderness during Lent—days in which God calls us to self-examination, repentance, and making room for the Holy One in our lives. Our task as followers of Jesus during Lent is to clear away the clutter from our hearts, to make space for God’s Spirit and God’s shaping of us so we can be fully present to God and our neighbors.
Walking in the Wilderness is meant to be a companion for readers’ journey through Lent. It may be studied individually, but Richardson suggests studying the book with a small group or even one other person so readers can give and receive support in their spiritual pilgrimage. The book includes daily reflections for Ash Wednesday through Easter. Sunday of each week introduces a spiritual practice for the wilderness. The practices for the six Sundays of Lent are Being Present, Lament, Lectio Divina, Trust, Compassion, and Hospitality.
Each reading contains a quotation from an Upper Room resource, a short scripture passage, an insightful reflection and prayer written by Richardson, and a single word for readers to carry with them throughout the day.
“We come hungry to this season of Lent,” Beth Richardson writes, “hungry for words of life, for rituals of preparation, for disciplines to help us on our way.” Walking in the Wilderness provides a spiritual feast for readers during the longest season of the Christian year.