By Mary Etta King, Transitional Conference Minister

Lent invites us to follow Jesus into the wilderness, the place of unknown. The Gospel of Matthew says Jesus was led by the Spirit to this wild place. While there he was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).

We, too, may be tempted, tempted to forget about making special efforts to walk with Jesus these 40 days of Lent. This is, however, a time to simplify our lives and become quieter. Anyone on a pilgrimage for any length of time knows that traveling lightly is essential. We take only things we absolutely need. Imagine Jesus walking into the desert with little in his hands. He carried no food and possibly not even a bed roll. There he had time to contemplate and pray, good preparation for his ministry. Decluttering our lives and making spaces to rest and pray is a way to honor Jesus’ experiences as well as to make them our own.

Henri J. M. Nouwen said, “Spirituality is attention to the life of the spirit in us; it is going out to the desert or up to the mountain to pray; it is standing before the Lord with open heart and open mind; it is crying out, ‘Abba, Father’; it is contemplating the unspeakable beauty of our loving God.”

May we open our hearts, our lives, this Lenten season emptying ourselves in order to see more clearly God’s beauty and experience God’s love. As we simplify our schedules and lighten our loads we make room for prayer, the kind of prayer that flows out in service of others.

“Lead me into deep silence and solitude,
let peace become my mantle.
Divine Light shines in those whose lives reflect love.”
Psalm 143
Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness
Nan C. Merrill