Wilderness Lament

Wilderness Lament

May 14, 2014
Written by Steven Liechty

Donna Schaper

"Get thee out of thy country, Abram . . ." - Genesis 12:1

If you don't think of the 21st century as a new country, you aren't listening. Listen to how the popular website Upworthy describes itself: "a cross between 60 Minutes and the Reader's Digest and a very socially responsive TV morning show." We – and Upworthy -- are in an in-between time and place, living an intermission, maybe even an impasse.  From there we search for a good "selfie," one of those pictures we can take of ourselves that tells us we are here.

We imagine ourselves as wilderness people and find comfort in what happened to good old Abraham.  He too had to leave home and not know where he was going.  Misery loves company.

Boyd Varty has written a book called Cathedral of the Wild.  In it he gives the rules for safari.  "When we do the stalkie, no talkie."  There is often a kind of whine to our wilderness lament, as in "Why is this happening to me?"  "Why couldn't I live in simpler times?"  I have even heard people mourn the good old 1950's.

Is God telling us to take this trip to the new place, with new words to find new animals, headed towards a new cathedral?  Yes.  Even more, God has done this before and will do it again.


We worship you, O God, from the wilderness, in the wilderness and we think you are really wild.  Amen.

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.

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