Stories from the Wilderness | Lent 2021

Worship:  Wednesdays 7:00 – 7:30 pm

The people of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  There are many rich stories that come to us from their time of wandering. As we now enter the 40 days of Lent, we enter a kind of wilderness, and living through COVID-19 is certainly a wilderness experience.  This Lent, we will hear powerful stories from the book of Numbers, the book that in Hebrew is called “Wilderness.”   These stories will enroll us in a kind of “wilderness school” and help us through our current wanderings.  We have much to learn in the wilderness.

Each Wednesday we will have a worship service at 7pm that will include the story of the week, a reflection on that story, and music that is simple and meditative. We will also include an activity to help families with children participate.  The service will be Livestreamed and recorded similar to our Sunday morning service.  

Recommended Lenten Devotionals

Worship Schedule

February 17th – Ash Wednesday – Consecrated for God / Numbers 8:14-19

February 24th – The Pillar of Cloud & Fire / Numbers 9:15-23

March 3rd   –  Manna, Quail, & Nostalgia / Numbers 11:1-23

March 10th –  Temptation, Fear, Spies & Giants / Numbers 13

March 17th –  Water from the Rock & Moses Doesn’t Cut It / Numbers 20:1-13

March 24th –  Sin & Solution – Where to Look / Numbers 21:1-9

_________________________________________

Themes, Questions, & Summaries of Each Service

February 17th – Ash Wednesday – Consecrated for God / Numbers 8:14-19

As ashes are a symbol of repentance and cleansing, we see how God consecrates (sets apart) for himself a holy priesthood for the people as they begin their sojourn in the wilderness.  Is there a “priesthood” in our sojourn that does God’s cleansing and purifying work?  How does God consecrate and set us apart?  For what are we set a part? 

 

February 24th – The Pillar of Cloud & Fire / Numbers 9:15-23 

God gives the people a “tent of meeting” and a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night to guide and lead the people through the wilderness.  What has God put in our lives to guide us and assure us of God’s presence?  How does God lead us in our wilderness?  To what do we cling in this time to get us through?  God’s word functions similar to the pillars of cloud and fire. 

March 3rd   –  Manna, Quail, & Nostalgia / Numbers 11:1-23

Faced with challenges and want in the wilderness, the people look back at their time in Egypt nostalgically.  Often in the wilderness we look back and complain too but what has God given us in the present moment that fulfills our need? God gave the people manna and quail to satisfy their hunger.  How does God satisfy our hunger in our wilderness wandering?  From this story, we ponder how God provides for us not with what we want but with what we need.  Our comparisons to others is usually not a fruitful enterprise.

March 10th –  Temptation, Fear, & Giants / Numbers 13

Fear.  Fear is a powerful force, especially in the face of uncertainty and when there are big obstacles in our way.  God sends spies into the promised land but almost all of them, seeing the giants and power of the people, come back and sow seeds of unbelief.  Almost all the people failed to trust in God’s power to deliver them.  What reports do we receive today that engender fear and distrust?  How do we know which report or messenger is true and right?   

March 17th –  Water from the Rock & Moses Can’t Finish the Job / Numbers 20:1-13

More than anything, in the wilderness we need water.  The people once again complain and understandably so.  God instructs Moses and he follows through but not exactly how God directed him.  The people receive water out of the rock Moses struck. Paul will claim that the rock is Jesus prefigured.  How does God quench our thirst in our wilderness?  What does the sad truth that Moses doesn’t get to go into the Promised Land because of a small deviation, tell us today about the Law?  

March 24th –  Sin & Solution – Where to Look / Numbers 21:1-9

Once again the sin and distrust get the best of the people and they begin worshiping other gods.  God sends a wrath provoked and a plague of snakes whose bite is lethal is sent among the people.  What things “bite” us in the wilderness? How does our journey get “poisoned?”  God had Moses place a staff with a bronze serpent on it and when the people looked upon it, they were healed.  Jesus, in John 3 refers to his being lifted up (on a cross) to the bronze serpent.  When we look up to Jesus, we are healed.  How does God bring us healing and forgiveness in the wilderness?