Guernsey Press, 7 March 2020

Last Sunday, many churches heard a reading from St Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus went into the wilderness and the devil tried to tempt him to turn away from God. I started thinking about the different wildernesses we might experience at times.

There was the milk advert in the UK from when I was growing up. “He says if I don’t drink lots of milk, when I grow up I’m only gonna be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley! Accrington Stanley? Who are they? Exactly!” A formerly great football club now remembered only by a milk advert. A club in the wilderness, forgotten.

There are children in school, having difficulties with friendships and relationships feel they have been cast out by others – forgotten, unloved. It’s a kind of wilderness.

And people struggling with depression or anxiety, pulling back from people and situations, isolated, struggling with life itself. Another wilderness.

At this time of concern about coronavirus, there are many people self-isolating. Maybe because they’ve been to a place deemed to be at risk, or simply because they are concerned about the potential for infection. This too seems a like a wilderness – shut away from others, feeling isolated and vulnerable.

When we are stuck in a wilderness, I guess there is a tendency to wonder and worry about what might happen while we’re away. Will everything move on and we’ll be forgotten? How will we get out of the wilderness, we wonder? Will we ever get back to where we were, we ask ourselves? Will anyone remember us, we panic?

My hope is that we may notice those who are in a wilderness, cut off and forgotten, and may play our part in showing they are remembered, loved, and cherished.

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