When We Seek Wisdom

John A. Buehrens

"When we seek wisdom," says one Native American spiritual leader, "we go up on the hill and talk to the Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka. Four days and four nights, without food and water. And we listen. And God speaks."

Roy Phillips, minister of the Unitarian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, writes about the season of Lent:

"Jesus went into the desert not to kill his spirit, but to nourish it.

"It is difficult for affluent people to understand that deprivation can be nourishing for them. They stop their ears from hearing that for those who have too much, less is sometimes more: the one remaining thing they need.

"Jesus went into the desert, which was nobody’s domain, and came out announcing that this entire world is God’s fruitful kingdom,  the arena of divine creativity, the locus of the Sacred.

"What paradoxical creatures we are! What a mysterious realm is our world! In the dark night of the soul, some have, for the first time, been able to see the inner light. Jesus went into the desert, of all places, to find nourishment. [As Auden puts it:]

‘the garden is the only place there is/but you will not find it Until you have looked for it everywhere/and found nowhere that is not a desert...’