The Word in the Wilderness
When God spoke to Moses from the ‘lit bush’ he promised, ‘I will come down’; and come down he did, in Christ. Wherever we are in our wilderness journey, we are not alone; he walks with us, even as, in keeping Lent, Holy Week and Easter, we walk with him. What happened ‘out there and back then’ can happen ‘in here and right now’. It may be that the poems in this book can be a little like the pillar of cloud by day, suggesting shapes, forming and reforming, but leading us forward. Or like the pillar of fire by night, a quickened wick, a kindling for good, a warmth in the cold and a light in dark places.
The word Lent comes from the Latin word Quadragesima which means Fortieth. It represents the days before Easter in which the church prepares her collective heart. As Malcom Guite wrote in The Word in the Wilderness,
“Lent is a time set aside to reorient ourselves, to clarify our minds, to slow down, recover from distraction, to focus on the values of God’s kingdom and on the value he has set on us and on our neighbours.”
During Lent we will look to Dr. Guite’s book as a daily guide on our journey to Easter Sunday. The journey is divided into seven parts, and the first begins tomorrow:
Before Lent proper begins, this first part takes us from Shrove Tuesday through Ash Wednesday and as far as the first Sunday in Lent. This is about clearing up and getting ready for the journey, confessing sins and being ‘shriven’, or absolved, which is what Shrove Tuesday was for. Turning around and facing the right way is what the ‘repentance’ of Ash Wednesday means, and what a reflection on Christ’s own temptations in the wilderness helps us to do.
If you are on Facebook, please join our book club as we share and discuss The Word in the Wilderness on our journey to Easter.
Click HERE to join.
“Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.”
Literature & Liturgy: Malcolm Guite and The Word in the Wilderness
Malcolm Guite is poet-priest and Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge, but he often travels round Great Britain, and to North America, to give lectures, concerts and poetry readings. For more details of these and other engagements go to his Events Page. You can read more about him on this Interviews Page
He is the author of numerous books including
Parable and Paradox: Sonnets on the Sayings of Jesus and Other Poems Canterbury Press 2016
The Word in the Wilderness
A poem a day for Lent, Holy week and Easter
For every day from Shrove Tuesday to Easter Day, the bestselling poet Malcolm Guite chooses a favourite poem from across the Christian spiritual and English literary traditions and offers incisive seasonal reflections on it.