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Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil … Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. – Matthew 4

Lent is when we meet in the desert.

The desert is a place of vulnerability. A place where there is nowhere to hide. A place where everything we are used to having protect us is stripped away. A place where we are at the mercy of the primal forces of life … and death. The desert is a place where we are utterly dependent on God and each other for survival.

The desert is a place where we are often at our worst. Where we are tempted to fear. Where we are tempted to betray our best selves and betray one another because we fear it is the only way to survive.

The desert is where it gets real.

It’s no accident that the words Jesus heard before he was driven into the desert were God saying: “This is my child, my beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” Because the desert strips away our sense of worth, our sense of belovedness. The desert tempts us to believe we are less than. Jesus needed those words in his ears to remind him of who he really was.

And so do we.

Lent is when we meet in the desert.

Lent is that time of the church year when we are challenged to be vulnerable with God and with each other. To share with one another more deeply. To lean on one another more closely. To risk with one another more profoundly.

Lent is that time of the church year where we are encouraged to take off our masks and everything else we might hide behind. To let it get real. To have the real conversation. To show our real wounds. Even to laugh the deep laugh we fear might be embarrassing.

Lent is when we meet in the desert and share our deepest fears and temptations with one another. Where we acknowledge the devil is with us but that ultimately it is God’s angels who never abandon us and whose healing power will see us through.

Lent is when we meet in the desert and remember that no matter how much we are tempted to believe the myth of our own self-sufficiency we truly are living in the hollow of God’s hand, that it is the provision of God that calls out every beat of our heart and breath from our lungs.

Lent is when we meet in the desert and know that in meeting one another we are meeting Jesus.

I invite you to the ancient practice of the observance of a holy Lent. To a meeting in the desert.

I invite you to try out the ancient practices of daily prayer and Bible reading. Even just five or 10 minutes a day. Five or 10 minutes of reminding ourselves that we need God for our very survival. Five or 10 minutes a day of letting ourselves hear that voice that is God’s desert song for us as well “You … you … YOU are my beloved child, in you I am well pleased.”

I invite you to come together in one of our book groups or other Lenten offerings. Or merely to dedicate yourself to coming together in Eucharistic community each Sunday and meeting one new person … and sharing yourself with them in a way that leaves you vulnerable and able for them to meet Christ in you.

I invite you to engage in fierce conversations about the realities of our lives. To shake off the sugar coating and be that desert kind of real with each other. To acknowledge that yes, temptation lurks close by trying to prey on our hearts but God’s angels are watching over us, and often we play that part for one another.

Lent is when we meet in the desert.

See you there.

We begin our annual Daily Lenten Meditations series with this offering by our rector, Mike Kinman. Watch for daily postings from All Saints Church as we take the forty day journey to Easter together.

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