Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday, Second Day of Advent '09.
"I am waiting for the grace to endure my wilderness. Come quickly, Lord Jesus."
So, last night I was preparing the Advent prayers I'm praying at Prayer Plain and Simple on Beliefnet. I began the first week's batch by focusing on the annunciation and infancy Gospel narratives, and for the second week I progressed to Jesus' life on earth.
I was really moved by the Lord's temptation. You've gotta love Jesus for taking the identification thing far enough to become man. But he totally rawks for being a man subject to temptation.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil.” Luke 4:1-2 NRSV
I'm not sure I've ever seen it quite the way it hit me last night. There's Jesus, right after his baptism. The Holy Spirit takes on a bodily form and descends on him like a dove. God's big, audible voice resounds from heaven, "YOU ARE MY SON, THE BELOVED. IN YOU I AM WELL PLEASED." And everybody hears it. You'd think he'd be totally hyped, and from there start preaching, hanging around questionable people, turning water to wine, healing, loving, driving out money changers, raising the dead, and getting his feet washed. I would have. That was a heckuva endorsement!
But instead he was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. Now that is curious, and it certainly softened my ideas about what the wilderness experience is meant to be. I always thought they were arid, difficult places full of temptation, and screeching of my soul's wild beasts. I hated the wilderness! But maybe I've had it all wrong. Perhaps, the wilderness is one of the best places to meet God, because it's so uninhibited, untamed, undomesticated. The wilderness can be down right majestic and beautiful. Sure, the tempter is there. And my personal wild beasts, but God has to show up in some pretty "wild" ways, too.
I began Advent full of zeal. And... um... the next day, I'm in the wilderness. I'm bothered that I can't sleep at all at night, and how it disorders my entire day. I'm a little snappy and irritable, and Lord! I feel so busy. Yet, Jesus is revealing himself to me with such lovely tenderness. Maybe it's time for me to embrace the insomnia, and fatigue, and irritability as if they were friends that reveal my constant need to be on my knees, watching and waiting in wonder. And just maybe, embracing Christ in this wild place is the very thing that will prepare me for the ministry.
I guess we'll see.
"Come, Lord Jesus. Do not delay."