Field Guide to Wilderness Living

Lent and Easter at Bethany Church

Our theme for Lent this year is “Field Guide to Wilderness Living: Practical Skills for the Wandering, Confused, and In-Between Times.” Lent is traditionally associated with Jesus’ 40-day retreat into the wilderness, a time of reflection, a time of testing, and a time of connection to the divine.
That wilderness is a reminder of other biblical wildernesses: the place where Moses learned the name of God, the place where the Hebrew people wandered for 40 years, and the place where John the Baptist did his ministry. The wilderness is a place where people get lost but also a place where they find God. It’s a place where people get hungry and thirsty and also where their needs are provided for.
The biblical wilderness also reminds us of our personal wildernesses, the times in our lives when we seem lost and listless, the spaces inside of us that feel like wasteland. Lent is a time for getting in touch with such spaces, a season for self-reflection and for connecting more deeply to God. It’s a time of taking stock of our lives and asking what’s next.
In his book, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes, Belden C. Lane writes, “In wild places, terror and growth-toward-wholeness walk hand in hand...In desert and mountain wilderness, people discover liminal places suggesting thresholds between where they have been and where they are going.”
At Bethany we are providing lots of opportunities to cross the threshold and explore the wilderness this season. Check out the Lenten offerings in this newsletter and make plans to take advantage of as many as interest you. Challenge yourself. Try something new. Invite a friend.  
Wilderness isn’t just foreboding wasteland, it’s also beautiful mountains and vasts forests. As the title of our theme says, we’ll explore the practical skills that make a trip into the wild fun and fruitful.