This morning I was doing Uni Chapel prayers and landed up with Jeremiah 2: 1 - 13 to reflect upon. As I commented, I always seem to get thorny passages!
One thread in this reading was of following God into the wilderness... hints of the Exodus story, maybe hints (retrospectiviely) of Christ's temptations. The wilderness - an unknown, possibly barren, potentially hostile place. A place of risk. A place of repentance. A place of reflection. (I got a bit carried away with my "r" words).
Lent is, metaphorically anyway, an opportunity to choose to enter a wilderness period, a place and space entrered precisely for its lack of familiarty and comfort, a place to reflect, a space to review, reconsider and re-evaluate. A place to meet ourselves and make peace with ourselves. A place to prepare for the challenges of the Easter season.
I think there is a risk for Christians of sanctifying struggle and suffering by comparing it to the "wilderness" that I am quite wary of in writing this post. The lenten 'wilderness' is different because it is voluntarily entered... it is a chosen place and space for a defined duration and purpose. It is a conscious decision to walk into an unknown and uncharted place, but with a clearly defined point on the horizon towards which we walk... So long as keep our eyes looking forward, we can't get lost; so long as we keep plodding onwards, we will arrive.
Perhaps, after all, what we do is wander along the brink of the wilderness...?