What an odd choice. Jesus you’ve just been baptized and announced to be God’s gift for humanity; where are you going to go? Jesus’ answer, “Away from it all.” We live now in a world of constant connectivity. I grew up in a time when if you passed people on the street talking to themselves, you knew they were crazy. Now, if you are simply walking — I mean looking at the world around you and putting one foot in front of another —- people ask you what’s wrong with your cell phone. Information floods in. We refuse to simply be quiet. We contribute our tweets to the chaos. We have become crazy people.
Jesus didn’t need to get away as much as we do. He chose forty days of wilderness. Complete isolation. He had no cell phone reception or wifi. The world lost his wisdom from Facebook for forty days. He heard no one. Even the devil honored this choice of solitude until the last few days. Jesus only needed forty days to reestablish his sanity, how long do you need?
What comes from our constant communication is clutter. You know that closet or room in your house where you just stuffing things for later? This is your soul on constant communication. People are always saying things to you. Even when they don’t have anything to say, you keep listening. And when you listen, where does it go? In one ear and then into that closet which also contains your soul. So you fight back by tweeting the world your every fluffy thought. But when you talk nonsense, a copy is always left behind in your soul closet. It’s like your inner self needs to keep a receipt for every jibber-jabber transaction.
So how do we stop? That’s what Lent is about. Forty days isn’t enough, but perhaps we can discover which closet our soul is stashed in and put our junk elsewhere. This year, don’t do something; sit. This year, don’t give up chocolate; give up constant communication. Establish a space. It may be fifteen minutes each day when we stare out our bedroom window and our cellphone is down the hall on its charger.
What came from Jesus being in the wilderness was clarity. In the end, he knew three things that you and I don’t know:
He knew that because God spoke everything into existence, his word is more important for our daily life than bread. Prayer should be like breathing.
He knew that doing something great, doesn’t make you a great person. Instead of jumping off high buildings or trying to be the perfect parent or running in the Boston Marathon, we should simply be who we are meant to be. Character is everything. The daily walk of being in the moment is a crazy thing to lose.
He knew that spirit is more important than stuff. Look how shallow we have become. We worshipfully tag our Pinterest wish list of clothing, household decor items, cars, and gizmos. Jesus is deep. Hear, Oh Israel. The Lord your God is one. You shall worship Him with all your heart, and mind, and strength, and all of your soul.