We are on the cusp of the next Penitential season starting - Ash Wednesday this week is the start of Lent.
I find Lent a wonderfully bleak journey (deliberately so) - although one has to work to make a season like this as sparse as it should be, given everything is quite as busy and lively as it seems to be.
The wilderness (where Jesus goes to spend his 40 days and 40 nights) is supposed to be a desert, from the middle eastern setting of the tale. Here in Scotland do we find wilderness in the sea, sky, islands? On the later winter sparseness of the scenery (like the beach earlier this week on Bute)?
Or do we find the wilderness in ourselves, in our hardness of heart, in the lack of time to focus on others with the grace and love that they really deserve, that God would wish them to have.
Lenten observance - prayer, reflection, space - that is creating a wilderness in the space and structure of our lives to focus on God, on our own shortcomings, on where grace is actually to be found.
Sparseness, silence, wilderness. Lent is a season of all these things. A journey with and towards God. An uncomfortable journey, but a journey that can lead us into a deeper, richer relationship with God.