Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I’m struck by the Gospel detail that Jesus was with the wild animals in the wilderness.

I’ve walked in the Judean wilderness.  As in any wilderness – desert, tundra, urban jungle – to the untrained eye the wilderness is empty of life.  Or at least, if we do catch glimpse of a lizard on a rock, a hawk in the sky, we assume that life is haphazard.  The trained eye knows otherwise.

The trained eye knows that the wilderness is full of life, and knows how to track: how to identify the presence and the activity of particular animals by their prints, by the evidence of their nesting, their feeding.

We, too, leave tracks.  And, for the most part, we don’t notice our own tracks – unless we are deliberately trying to cover them.

We leave digital information tracks: can be followed from ATM withdrawal here to shop till there.

We leave carbon footprints.

We leave emotional tracks: a trail through other people’s lives, encouraging here, discouraging there.

Even if we believe that our passing through leaves no track behind, we are mistaken.  Our being here affects others, perhaps causes them to change the path of their own tracks, in order to walk alongside us, or to follow us, or to avoid us.

Take time to be aware of your tracks.

They are temporary: the wind blows over them, and they are no more.  Life goes on – your life goes on, crossing the same ground, made clean, or crossing into new places.

Where do you need to ask the wind of the Spirit to blow, erasing tracks you have left behind?  Where do you need to follow the dove of the Spirit, to be led to food or water or shelter?

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