The roar of Christmas has faded and the Madison ad men have gone back to their offices to hatch new schemes to sustain the premise of anxious consumerism and chronic dissatisfaction that permeates our culture. I emerge from the green respite of ordinary time and find myself today, the day before Lent begins, on the edge of the desert. God’s invitation has brought me here. My heart and mind wonder what spiritual gifts I might glean from this journey into a wilderness where I am free to walk empty- handed and silent with you and with God toward Golgotha and the mystery of an empty tomb. I scan this naked and barren milieu seemingly devoid of life and treasure and know looks are deceiving. I will have discipline myself to see the invisible and grow from sacrifices. Rather than being gluttonous, as many often are on Mardi Gras, today I will open my senses to the many possibilities that lie beneath the surface and make a plan for the forty days ahead. The Spirit calls me forward, and so, in faith, I take the first step.