My plan for today is to share about the first of three temptations that Jesus experiences in the wilderness. But after receiving a note from one of our Selah companions, Zoe Pearson, I realize something else is needed. Here’s my wondering.
Before the temptations, Jesus has to choose to walk into the wilderness, a place of unknown outcomes and presumed scarcity. When Jesus enters the wilderness, he had no idea what will happen. In previous wilderness experiences for the Hebrew people, they fail to trust for their provisions. They are afraid and hide in their fear. What is different about Jesus? What does he practice that gives him strength to face the temptations?
What strikes me by Zoe’s note, and now I share with you, is that we’re in a similar place of wilderness, a place of unknown outcomes and presumed scarcity where we are we cry out to God for the people of Ukraine. What can we offer in this place of wilderness?
One of the gifts of Lent is the call to prayer. It is a time to intentionally seek to listen and cry out to God. In times such as these while our world watches those in the throes of war and displacement, it can be difficult to know how to pray or wonder if prayer does anything at all. In her note, Zoe sent me a NY Times article by Tish Harrison Warren (see below). The article speaks of the many ways people are praying for and praying by Ukrainians.
What compels me and Zoe is a video created by the Bible Society that shows Ukrainians, some in basements and bomb shelters, who pray Psalm 31:
“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame;
Deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly
To my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name
Lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for
You are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit;
Deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.”