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Someone asked me to share in the leading of short lunch-time acts of worship during the Gateshead National Garden Festival. The point of the "national garden festivals" was to transform some area of waste land into a beautiful garden, for a summer festival, and then to continue to use the land for some permanent purpose. In other words to transform a "wilderness" into land that would be useful. It reminded me of the prophet Isaiah where there is a vision of "the wilderness and the solitary place" that would be transformed by the action of God. Of course, there is also another entirely positive meaning of "wilderness" when we use it, these days, of a natural environment in which we can accept the world of nature as it is, learning to live with it, and to accept our own "wilderness" as part of it too. A number of people at Gateshead, came to me to continue the conversation about their own experience of wilderness. And (the Garden Festivals were like this) I found two or three people there whom I had met somewhere before. Later, because this psalm began with a W, I put it into my "alphabet psalm".


  1. Wildernesses can blossom after rain
      and flowers grow on wasted land.
  2. Nature will re-colonise the bog and the desert
      we can reclaim the land that we have left long derelict.
  3. People say they are near you in a garden
      some see you most clearly in blue sky and the natural world;
  4. you are present also in our human relationships
      in our lives and work you are alive and working.
  5. Be alive in my desert and redeem my wasted time
      teach me never to drink except from my own well;
  6. in my solitary place grow your life
      through my wilderness lead me to discipleship.


June 02