The Call to Wilderness (Rev. Steve Blackmer)
Our theme this month is "Water and Worship."
As you go into the wilderness of the land and of your heart—
May you experience the ever-flowing grace of God’s presence!
May you be immersed so fully in God’s love that you learn to let go and swim!
May you engage deeply and radically with the natural world, as steward, co-creator, and friend!
May you drink anew from the divine source, the stream of living water!
And may you be transformed, may the stagnant waters of your spirit begin to flow, and may all which is dead in you rise again!
God is here. The river awaits. Let the adventure continue.
In 2017, Rev. Steve Blackmer of Kairos Earth started a new tradition: annual river pilgrimmages with parishoners, colleagues, and friends. The entire prayer book from the first journey (and other resources) is available for download here. Below are a two, brief selections from the prayer book and a few images from their auspicious journey.
The Call to Wilderness
In the Bible, God’s first call is often a call into the wilderness. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus are all called, often at the start of their ministry, to follow God into wild places. The wilderness is a place of radical encounter with God. It is where our ordinary human confines fall away – our routines, our physical comforts, our habitual thought patterns and our cultural conditioning are disrupted. God invites us to let go, to be broken down and broken open, so that God’s own wild presence can speak to us freshly. To bring something new into our hearts and into the world, God needs to first lead us into a place of wilderness and freedom.
All too often in Christian reflection and preaching we hear the wilderness referred to primarily in metaphorical terms. We might refer to an illness, a time of challenged beliefs, or of turmoil and transition in our congregation as ‘a wilderness’. But what about the actual, physical wild places? Perhaps there is something in actual wilderness – in exposure to the elements, in sleeping and rising with the sun, in immersion in the worlds of the plants and animals – that changes us far more deeply than these metaphorical wildernesses.
Day 1 | Wednesday, May 31st
Prayer of St. Patrick (p. 220)
And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
Hymn | “O Mighty Maker of the Sea” (p. 236)
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
20 minutes of silent prayer
Lord’s prayer: Our Father...
Learn more about the pilgrimages here.