Soul Food for Sundays

Soul Food for the First Sunday of Lent, 18th February 2024

Reflections 18th February 2024
Mark 1:12-15

The Author: Paul Venter
calendar_today Date: February 6, 2024 - 2 minutes read

Within 10 meters of our garden hedge is the fence of the nature reserve (pictured) that makes up a large part of Hilton College’s estate. It is an ancient landscape of steep valleys, waterfalls, grassland and thick bush. Brother giraffe and Sister swallow are just some of our neighbours and – along with a myriad of other creatures – are co-guardians of this small corner of Africa.

These fellow pilgrims of ours are in every sense of the word a daily reminder of Mother God’s promise that a covenant with all of creation would last forever. This brings us a sense of grounding as we begin the journey to Holy Week.

In Grade 10 our pupils spend over two weeks hiking through God’s original gospel and cathedral. During this journey they have no access to devices or social media. This includes a 24-hour period of solitude. This is a deliberate construct where they are given space and time to discover their real selves and to begin to discern their future purpose.  They often return from this wilderness experience and tell us of the animals and birds which kept them company, God’s protective angels covered in fur and feathers. The other angels are their teachers and peers who are there with a word of encouragement, a shared campfire or a hand to help carry a rucksack.

So it was with the young carpenter from Nazareth. Like the prophets before him and like his cousin John, he walked away from the comfort of home to live for a while in the dry lands of Galilee. He left with the supportive words of his family and friends being treasured in his heart. His Lenten experience of prayers and making ready for his life’s mission is our example as we enter these 40 days.

Like him, in our struggles, we look to nature and to each other collectively whispering the words of Mother Julian of Norwich that “all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”.

The Spiritans Emblem

Paul Venter

Director of Belonging at Hilton College in South Africa, Paul is married and has two children. He believes social and environmental justice will be achieved through dialogue and love. His passions include history and reading, running and rugby.