your God will walk before you…
Reflections this week are by The Rev. Michael Wallens
Living along the border provides me with two views of the Wilderness.
One is an idealized vision of the wilderness as a place of beauty and recreation, because we were raised on Walt Disney nature films and the Discovery Channel.
To the ancient mind, however, the wilderness was associated with very different qualities. Throughout the Scriptures the wilderness is seen as the realm of chaos—the domain where the order, beauty, and abundance of God’s kingdom is utterly absent and where the forces aligned against God and his people roam. It is a place of banishment, not refreshment.
Sometimes having God walk before me means I am being led into the wilderness as Jesus was following his baptism. It means being led into a wilderness—a season or place where we cannot see the order, beauty, and abundance of his kingdom. If you find yourself in the wilderness of migration, do not be afraid. Isaiah says God is walking before you. Do not assume that God has abandoned you, and do not catastrophize your circumstances.
Questions for reflection
- What does your wilderness look like? Why is God leading you into the wilderness? What is God saying to you?
- What does an asylum seeker’s wilderness look like? Why is God leading them into the wilderness? What is God saying to the asylum seeker?
- What does a detained person’s wilderness look like? Why is God leading them into the wilderness? What is God saying to those in detention?
- What does a DACA recipient’s wilderness look like? Why is God leading them into the wilderness? What is God saying to DACA recipients?
Michael Wallens is an Episcopal priest who serves five churches in the Big Bend region of Far West Texas. He also serves as co-chair of the Rio Grande Borderland Ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande (RGBM). RGBM serves people along the border from Big Bend to Arizona.
Check out EMM’s Resources for Congregations:
We offer Bible study, educational, worship, and a variety of other resources. You can also request an EMM speaker to virtually visit your congregation or group meeting. Learn more.