Angels, wild animals, wilderness…the search for freedom and meaning.

Mark Chapter 1 verses 9 to 15, sees Christ literally “bucked out” into the Judean wilderness following his baptism in the Holy Spirit. For forty days Mark tells us he endures the wilderness and all that solitude, hunger, zero home comforts and spiritual searching brings. Oh, on top of this he is tested by Satan as if the other privations were not enough.

Mark in his account of Christ’s testing in the wilderness does not give much by way of insight or detail. Christ’s experience is noted briefly and (in my opinion) rather matter of factly.

But Mark does note that amidst the rawness of the wilderness…

“Wild animals were his companions and angels took care of him”. (Mark 1 v 12 -13).

So amidst the time of testing, cut off from society, relationships, noise, activity and distraction Christ receives comfort from wild animals and angels.

It’s the wild animals that I want to focus upon in so far as (in my faith journey) my experience of Angels is limited. And thankfully, (truth be told) my experience of wild animals outside of David Attenborough’s “Planet Earth” series likewise is limited.

Mark tells us that wild animals during this wilderness experience were “his companions”. Christ shared his wilderness time with wild and no doubt dangerous animals safely and at ease. The wild animals were safe and at ease with Christ. No harm was done to either party. Christ moved amongst the “tooth and claw” of the wilderness I guess without having to fight, flight, freeze or flop which today we now understand are our basic natural default settings when facing a threat.

Lent. The season of the Church when each believer is called to examine one’s life and faith. A time of deliberate coming away from what distracts us from our journey of faith.

And maybe a season when we begin to see our own “wild animals” as companions…to be respected, revered, wrestled with even… as all great teachers and true companions always are.

The road to freedom must always pass through wilderness. Must always encounter wild things.


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