[W]hat if this were really a season for renunciation, even for non-believers? In the ancestral stories of nearly every culture, wisdom comes from the bare places, from deserts and dry mountains. The season of Lent itself is based on a “wilderness” — the one in which Jesus fasted for 40 days after his baptism.Hat tip to Cindy Drennan
It’s common to read this story and others like it as though the wilderness were little more than a blank backdrop. I read it a different way. Wisdom comes from the bare places because they force humility upon us. In these Lenten places, where life thrives on almost nothing, we can see clearly how large a shadow modern life and consumption cast upon the earth. In secular terms, Lent seems the opposite of Christmas — “What are you giving up?” versus “What are you getting?” Perhaps it might be a season in which to learn the value of abstention and to consider how to let the bare places flourish, or even simply to exist.
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