Lent Devotion 5
In the early centuries of the Christian movement, the desert played a prominent role in the emergence of the church. Like Jesus, people went to the desert to be closer to God. Communities formed in the stark landscape of sand and stone away from material and social and even religious distractions. There was space and time to listen and commune with Divine Love. The fruits of this desert movement are still important today even though our circumstances are so different. We are still learning from the teachings of the desert mothers and fathers about life in God.
Episcopal priest Mary C. Earle is a scholar of the Desert Mothers. She tells us this about the desert experience: “The desert way does not gloss over our unjust and demeaning actions toward others, our sinful actions and behaviors. The desert way sees the truth of those actions with clarity and precision, yet always perceives them as much smaller than the vast and unfathomable love of God.”
That is the wildness of mercy. As we learn to trust in the love and mercy of the Divine, we become more willing to lay our burdens down. Let go of our sins, faults, and short comings. Our mistakes and our misgivings. And as we experience the healing and cleansing of Divine mercy, we learn to more readily see, accept, and release our sins. Our lives become more honest. More real. More authentic. We can stop wasting our time and energy protecting and defending and deceiving ourselves. We can then find greater joy and deeper connections with others.
Prayer: Think about something that you would like to let go of. Something you have done or said that you regret. That you know has caused harm or hurt. Maybe something that dogs you; that you have tried to bury but it keeps coming up. Let it surface. Examine it. Now imagine the vast scope of the desert. All that space. Filled with love and mercy. Surely there is mercy and forgiveness for your offense. Let that cleansing mercy blow through you like a desert wind that blows the sand. Give thanks for with wildness of mercy. Amen.
Note: After church today, LUCC member Bill Parsons will lead a discussion about the war in Ukraine. He will give some background information and respond to questions from those gathered. Bill is a retired history professor from Eckerd College. His specialty was Russia/USSR. He was instrumental in establishing the sister city relationship between St. Petersburg, FL and St. Petersburg, Russia. Bill has also fostered many other connections between Florida and Russia including the sister church relationship between LUCC and St. Job’s in St. Petersburg, Russia.