We continue our series focusing on the Season of Creation written and compiled by Michelle Cook.
Wilderness conjures up many different feelings for people. It may be a time of sparseness and desperation. It may be a time of reclamation and refreshment. In the Scriptures, wilderness is usually portrayed as a time of desperation and testing. When we look at the readings set for today we see the same.
The Hebrew Scriptures reading from Joel 1:8-10 and 17-20 speaks of the desolation of dryness being experienced by the people. All the fertility of the land has gone, no hope can be found. The prophet cries out to God in the midst of despair. Joel asks the people to come to God, to cry out to God and to ask God for mercy. There may be people in worship today who are in this place of dryness, who are asking for relief from despair.
Psalm 18:6-19 answers a cry of despair, but in truly military and violent actions. Whilst these actions please the writer of the Psalm, they can feel foreign and vengeful to our ears. It causes us to ask the question, ‘Should I rejoice in the suffering and anguish of those who have hurt me?
Romans 8:18-27 reminds us that the whole creation groans waiting for redemption. We too may groan. We too do not have the right words to raise our voices to God.
And then heaven breaks in and we hear the story of Jesus’ baptism. A baptism from a man who lives in the wilderness, and a baptism that happens in the wilderness.
Where do we find God in the wilderness?