During the season of Lent, we find ourselves in the wilderness with Jesus, which can feel like an uncomfortable place. In scripture, the wilderness is a desert-like place, where we feel uncertain and unprepared. When Moses led the people of God out of Egypt, they wandered through the wilderness for forty years. After his baptism, Jesus wandered in the wilderness, wrestling with the difficulties of this world, for forty days. Throughout these forty days of Lent, we wonder what it means to wander.
The wilderness could be caused by grief, adjusting to a life that feels unfamiliar because of a loss. It could feel like a rug has been pulled out from underneath us because of a job transition or sudden diagnosis. We might question ourselves, wondering what we did to cause such heartache, even though the wilderness is not always the result of our decisions.
We also live in a world with unrest and heartache all around us. We hear about division and turmoil, even between friends and family. We mourn the loss of student’s lives in a school shooting. We read more about war than we do about peace. We see people struggling to survive the burdens of extreme poverty.
In the midst of the wilderness, we can loose sight of the beauty, goodness, and truth of God. We can even loose our “Alleluia.” We can struggle to celebrate or to see God around us. The wilderness of Lent takes us on a journey to Easter, where we discover the “Alleluia” of the Church again.
One tradition of Lent, which the children of the church participated in this year, is burying the “Allelluia.” At the beginning of Lent, they wrote down their “Alleluia” on a piece of paper and placed it in a jar, hiding it outside the church. We bury our “Alleluia” during Lent, so we can reclaim it at Easter, where we proclaim that God’s love is stronger than death. The steadfast love of God can carry us through the wilderness, renewing our “Allelluia” by hearing it proclaimed again on Easter, so we can see the beauty, goodness, and truth of God.