Tag Archives: wilderness

Birth

I’m not entirely sure I can see this picture as giving birth, as Stephen Cottrell suggests (p64).  I see it more as Christ sitting amongst the desolation and danger, holding danger, fear and possibility – an image I find powerful in itself.

But I’m happy to go along with the birthing suggestion.  That from the desolation, the darkness, the fear can come new life.

By Carly & Art from Washington, DC (Gamboling lamboling!) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

For there has to be the possibility and hope of the wilderness – it is not the end, there is something else to come, another hope, another way, different potential.  Jesus returned from the Wilderness strengthened for his work.  Life may never be the same again.  Both the wilderness and birth change that, but there will still be life.

Jesus will go from this place to suffer.  But his suffering and scars, bring us healing.  In the depths of fear, deep in the wilderness, caught up in anger and pain, we may not feel that, but it remains a truth to cling to – sometimes all we can cling to.

In the words to The Romans:

A Wonderful Future for God’s People

18 I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19 In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20 Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21 that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22 We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth.

23 The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24 And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25 However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.

These thoughts are reflecting on Spencer’s painting The Scorpion (seen here at the bottom of the second page).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

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The Thing You Need to be Happy

Reading what Stephen Cottrel has to say about constantly seeking joy, always looking for the reward in the future (p52), reminded me of Lynette’s speech in the final ever episode of Desperate Housewives

The realisation you have what you need to be happy, and not needing to look for the next thing. Wise advice.

If you constantly live looking into the future, you never enjoy the present and it’s delights.  Heaven can be found in the most unlikely places – even the wilderness, but we have to be open to seeing it.

In this we can be challenged to see and delight in God in every person, in every moment itself and all that it holds (p53)

31 Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” 32 Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. 33 But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.

34 Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.

These thoughts are reflecting on Spencer’s painting Consider the Lilies (seen here).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

Life in the Desert

By Luca Galuzzi (Lucag) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The subject of these paintings is ‘Christ in the Wilderness’.  Yet in this painting, Consider the Lilies (seen here), the land surrounding Jesus is anything but wilderness or desert.  It is abundant with life – green grass, blossoming flowers, trees.

Stephen Cottrell reminds (p44) us of Old Testament prophecies of the desert blossoming and bearing fruit (though I’m not sure Isaiah 42 is the right reference?).

The desert is hard work, can be painful, soul-destroying – but ultimately, and this in not something you can see while you are there, it can be a place of fruitfulness and of life.  Because when everything has been stripped away, you become sure of what you can rely on.  What your basis is, and from their you can build.  From starkness and desolation comes life and growth.

By Nicolas Perrault III (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts