This semester I am taking classes on Judaism and Islamic history. I am thinking about the way the desert features in each of these faiths. From Israelites who wandered the desert after fleeing Egypt for 40 years… to Mecca’s spring that rose in an arid land, bringing pilgrims to worship at the Ka’bah (sacred shrine). In the third century, early Christian monastics also lived in the desert. Religious wanderers would seek the wisdom of these Desert Fathers and Mothers, as they were called. In many religious traditions, the desert has been a place of wandering, seeking, and mystical revelation.
The month of March is a time of spiritual journeying, of wandering and walking the world. It is Lent in the Christian tradition– forty days of spiritual discipline and sacrifice that precede the Easter celebration. For me personally, this is a time when my ancestors- father and grandparents who died in late winter- are present in my memory. I journey inward, gather wisdom, and walk slowly through the barren season into the life-giving spring.
In this month of wandering, let us seek wisdom together in the desert spaces of our lives. It is a joy that we get to search for truth and meaning in celebration together.