Coming out of the Wilderness

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I'm reading through Mark's Gospel as part of our Give me 5 for Lent, and I keep returning to the wilderness part, Mark 1:12-14.

"How did you feel when come out the wilderness...leaning on the Lord?" So goes the words of the spiritual. The verses proclaim, "I felt brand new when I came out the wilderness, when I was leaning on the Lord..." and "I came out and shouted when I came out the wilderness, when I was leaning on the Lord."

Mark's verses here talk about Jesus going into the wilderness, still probably dripping from the baptismal waters of the Jordan, driven by the Spirit. Mark doesn't give details about the nature of the temptations themselves. He just says, there was wilderness, there was Satan, there were temptations and wild beasts, and there were angels to wait on Jesus. It's when Jesus comes "out the wilderness" that Mark seems to gather some steam. Things are looking bleak. John is in jail, and Jesus comes to Galilee. In the wilderness, he has found his voice, and we hear the first words (from Mark's pen) out of his mouth, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news."

We observe Lent as a 40-day journey, in part because of Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness. It's a time to fast and pray and give alms. But Mark reminds us it's not "wilderness for the sake of wilderness." Lent is a time for preparing for what comes after - preparing for life as an Easter people, people whose sins are covered, people for whom death doesn't have the last word.

What will your testimony be when you "come out the wilderness?" Let it be a message about a God who wants to claim our whole hearts and lives. Let it be about the kingdom of God coming close, and the good news of what God has done for us in Jesus. Won't you walk with me this Lent? We'll come out changed, because we've been "leaning on the Lord."

Prayer: Dear Lord, we know you are a wilderness God, that you know the way in and through and out of it. Stay with us as we continue to walk through Lent, so that we may come out changed. Transform us by the power of your Holy Spirit that we might live and proclaim the good news of the gospel. Amen.

We are planning to reopen worship with limited attendance on 3/14 and we are looking into other ways to gather for worship in the spring. To register to attend on 3/14, use this link. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d49afaf2aa0f9c52-sunday1

And: I'm trying to find out where our people are currently on regathering for worship. Here's a quick 6 question survey I'd love for all of us to take. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9S3PPLD

See you "in Church,"
Pastor Mandy

PS Are you eligible for a vaccine and having difficulty getting an appointment? Let me know and I'll see if we can get someone to help you navigate the process. Mandy.sayers@glenmarumc.org.