First Sunday of Lent: And the Angels Waited

Image: And the Angels Waited © Jan Richardson

And the angels waited on him.
—Mark 1.13

From a lectionary reading for Lent 1: Mark 1.9-15

Reflection for the First Sunday in Lent (February 26)

How will we see the angels if we don’t go into the wilderness? How will we recognize the help that God sends if we don’t seek out the places beyond what is comfortable to us, if we don’t press into terrain that challenges our habitual perspective? How will we find the delights that God provides even—and especially—in the desert places?

Blessing that Meets You
in the Wilderness

After the
desert stillness.

After the

After the
and days
and weeks
of emptying.

After the
and the

After the
and seeing
and knowing.

Let this blessing be
the first sweetness
that touches
your lips,

the bread
that falls into
your arms,

the cup
that welcoming hands
press into

Let this blessing be
the road that
returns you.

Let it be
the strength to carry
the wilderness

—Jan Richardson

2016 update: “Blessing That Meets You in the Wilderness” appears in my new book Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons. You can find the book here.

This reflection is part of the series “Teach Me Your Paths: A Pilgrimage into Lent.” If you’re new to the series, visit the first post, Teach Me Your Paths: Entering Lent, to pick it up from the beginning.

P.S. For reflections on this story from previous years, click the images or titles below:

Lent 1: A Blessing for the Wilderness
(Includes a blessing that you’re welcome to use in worship.)

Lent 1: Into the Wilderness

Lent 1: A River Runs through Him

Lent 1: Discernment and Dessert in the Desert
(Includes “Desert Prayer,” which you’re welcome to use in worship.)

[To use the image “And the Angels Waited,”  please visit this page at Your use of helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!]


4 Responses to “First Sunday of Lent: And the Angels Waited”

  1. martha clarkplank Says:

    Jan, these are beautiful.

  2. Melynne Says:

    Jan, thank you for these words. There were several places this week where I chose to move beyond my comfort zone, and I was met with God’s grace when I did, but I wasn’t necessarily looking for it. Your words remind me to anticipate the angels waiting for me in those unfamiliar places, and to know that when I have the courage to move into those places, that I will be met with blessing. Thank you!

  3. forhisgloryalone Says:

    In my own life I too went from the waters of baptism into the wild for several years. I confess my absolute inability then to find what God delighted to give me.

    This Lenten season is becoming a spiritual marker for me and to realize this I am brought low.

    The wilderness is no longer a place I despise. I find hope in choosing to replace the many “if’s” with “when” as I reflect on your opening words in this post.

    God bless you.

  4. Lee Carlile Says:

    Your reflections and poetry touch my heart, and the images—just beautiful!

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