Psalm 23 Exodus 28:29–30 Philippians 4:4–9 Matthew 5:1–10
It is a secret still, but already your tree is chosen.
It has entered a forest for miles
and hides deep in a valley by a river.
No one else finds it; the sun passes over not noticing.
But even while you are reading
you happen to think of that tree,
no matter where sentences go, talking about other things.
The author tries to be casual, to turn from the secret.
But you know exactly what is out there.
You set forth alone.
–William Stafford’s original dedication to Who Are You Really, Wanderer?
The poem above may seem an unlikely submission for this year’s collection
of Lenten meditations, and I certainly can’t speak to the writer’s intent. But to
me it touches on an important part of our journey in faith: that it is unique to
each one of us, as is our relationship with God.
I love the idea that there is a tree out there that waits for us, quietly, peacefully.
To me this is a reminder that with God there is a place for each one of us in
this life and a place for us beyond. When we feel ourselves wandering, unsure
of where to go or what to do, lost in a forest for miles, God is with us too,
aware we are out there even when we do not hear Him.
And when we are compelled to set forth alone, in whatever form that may
take, our faith reminds us that seeking a place to dwell in quiet discernment
and in peace is something God might just understand. Faith is, after all, about
finding our way—to God and with God in our hearts, again and again.
–Audrey M. Wood