Loiter within Lent 2017
“At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” Mark 1 : 12 – 13
The basic idea is that you, or a small group of you from your church ‘go into the wilderness’ and see what happens. Have a series of experiences with the intention of helping you to reflect on life from different perspectives.
Why ‘loiter within lent’? *
(To loiter: Stand or wait around without apparent purpose) The 1824 Vagrancy Act (in the UK) made it an offence to ‘loiter with intent’ to commit an offence. The purpose of this ‘loiter with intent’ is to see where God is – where is the love, joy, kindness, truth in this place? If it’s not there, why?
Ideas for loitering
Go and have a meal in places you haven’t been to before and just eat and watch and loiter and listen. And think ‘where is God here?’ You could have a meal in a cheap cafe, or somewhere posh, or maybe a hospital restaurant. Choose places you would not normally think of going to.
Volunteer to help one day each week in a food kitchen for the homeless and try to engage with those who come in.
If you pass through a railway station, stop and sit on a bench for a while and watch people going about their business.
Visit a law court and observe a trial if it’s open to the public.
Visit a different town centre or shopping centre from the ones you usually go to, and just observe the people there (try not to make it into a shopping trip).
This was the idea of the Revd Lucy Winkett, of St James’s, Piccadilly, London, UK
Lucy writes…This was our Lent programme the year before last. In the pattern of Jesus going into the desert, we wanted to allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit to places that were new or unusual for us, expecting to find both angels and wild animals (cf Mark 1 : 12 – 13), and desiring that these experiences both challenged us and deepened our trust in God.
Our group outings included The Old Bailey, a TV studio, a Hindu Temple. We also did an urban retreat called Street Wisdom which isn’t in itself religious, but if you look it up, is a thing run regularly by a really interesting group. We asked them to come and help us do one – and I found our Street Wisdom retreat (3 hours on a Saturday morning) inspirational.
After each trip, we asked ourselves where God was in the place – and we led our visits metaphorically with our shoes off as we believed we were approaching holy ground. The idea is based on a conviction that the Spirit blows where it wills and that the walls of a church community or building will never contain it, and shouldn’t try. So we should “get out more” and see where God is and what God is up to.