Tuesday, February 5, 2008


This website is designed to allow a spiritual search that is not reliant on time or place. To sustain the journey you will need

a) 40 days: the 40 day resource kit is an artistic collaboration between artist Si Smith and poet Chris Goan. It offers an image a day, plus a fragment of poetry. It can be downloaded from here Or if you are physically located close to Opawa Baptist in Christchurch, contact us at cnr Hastings St East and Wilsons Road. Do 6 of these each week

b) 7th day assignments: With Sunday not recognised as a day of Lent, this allows a change of pace. On this blog (here, here, here, here, here, here) are six "7th day" assignments which are intended to provides a way to pause and to process your wilderness spirituality. The assignments are designed to suit different learning styles. They are designed to be done individually at a time suitable for you (and not necessarily on Sunday). Upon completion, they are designed to be shared - either digitally or physically - through the Lenten cross.

c) Lenten cross: We will set up a physical cross in our building at Opawa Baptist. (You could do the same in a place important to you). This website also serves as a digital Lenten cross. Share the results of your assignment by emailing us (spirit2go at gmail dot com) your words and photos and sound, and we will place them on the site here for others to appreciate. Then start on the next assignment.

Monday, February 4, 2008

assignment 1

find seven items you would most want to take if you were travelling 40 days into a desert. find a piece of Lenten fabric; a cloth that you feel best captures how you feel about entering Lent. find a place in your house that these seven items might remain over the Lenten period and place them on your Lenten Fabric. send a photo of your items to us at spirit2go at gmail dot com and we will add it to the photodisplay.


Fabric - I choose a place mat made from linen. This captures my feeling of going into this journey to Lent with no preconceived ideas or agenda (i.e. the linen has not be altered by being dyed) so I am open to what Jesus has to say to me. I also regard the mat as a symbol for all the physical things that I would need to take to survive 40 days in a desert - shelter, equipment, etc

Bible - the Word of God, essential for any journey

Journal and pen - to write down what God says to me during this time in the desert

Cross - to remind myself that the cross is at the end of the Lenten journey

Beads - peace, joy, hope - to remind myself that on the other side of Lent is Easter day and the peace, joy and hope of resurrection life

Lamb - this lamb was given to us at church and symbolises those we are praying for who have not yet met Jesus

Candle - the lighted candle symbolises the Holy Spirit, both in illuminating my spiritual journey but also in providing the spiritual gifts needed on this journey called life.

assignment 2

visit a place that you consider a "wilderness." It might be in the country or in the city. Either make a sound recording or take a photo. Email, including details of the location and what you experienced.

And J writes: My wilderness place is anywhere in the hilly farmland of Banks Pensisula where I grew up. As a child, when I wanted time to myself I saddled up my horse and spent hours riding over the countryside.

In doing so I was deliberately taking myself to a place of wilderness to find refreshment and quietness.

But our wilderness experiences aren't always voluntary. Sometimes we are thrust into them without warning and with a real sense of not wanting to go there. In fact, we often want to run away and hide.

At times like this we need to remember that there is nowhere we can go that God is not with us. So this means that it is safe for us to move into and through the wilderness no matter how incredibly hard and difficult it is.

As I looked at the cartoon images from days 13, 14 and 15 of 40 Lent 08 I found myself reflecting on the intensity of a wilderness experience and realised how cathartic and healing it would have been to be able to dance off some of the hurts and pain I felt, to move my body through the air in abandonment in the way of some cultures at funerals.

To shout my hurts to the wind (a metaphor for the Holy Spirit); to keep going until exhaustion set in and to come to a place where I was ready to receive the comfort offered by God who had been waiting patiently and ready to console me when I finally cried out to him.

assignment 3

interview three people about their ideas of desert. tell them you are going to write their thoughts up publicly. (You might like to write it on your choice of "Lenten fabric" from assignment one). Blog or email your notes from the interview.

assignment 4

either read or listen (www.podbible.com) to another of the 40 "narratives." (Options include the forty days Moses spent on Sinai; the forty days and nights Elijah spent walking to Horeb; the forty days and forty nights of rain in the days of Noah; the Hebrew people wandering for forty years before the Promised Land; Jonah who gave the city of Nineveh forty days in which to repent). What strikes you about how it connects with your Lenten journey? Email your thoughts.

assignment 5

make a sand castle depicting the temples of your city. take a photo and email it to us.

assignment 6

go back to your 7 items of assignment 1. as the wilderness journey draws to a close, would you add anything or take anything away from the 7 items you chose at the start? Write a prayer to God, reflecting on what has struck you over the journey. Email it to us.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

What is a wilderness spirituality?

What is lent?
Originating in the fourth century, Lent spans 40 weekdays, from Ash Wednesday, through Holy Week, concluding with the Saturday before Easter. (For those who can count, yes, this does total 46 days. Since Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays that occur during Lent are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent.)

Lent began as the time of preparation for seekers exploring baptism at Easter. And since these new members were to be received into a living community of Faith, the entire community was called to share in the preparation. Today, Lent is used by the church as a time to prepare for Easter.

The number 40 is connected with many Biblical events, most especially the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness. This was a time to prepare for ministry by facing the temptations that might have caused him to abandon his mission and calling. This Biblical story invites us into a wilderness spirituality. What might tempt us at to abandon our life mission? What do we need to abandon? What experiences do we need to add? While the wilderness is often a feared place, perhaps it is time to enter it as a growing place. The wilderness spirituality assignments grouped here are designed to facilitate such a journey.