This image feels apocalyptic to me. A great crowd amassed on a barren plain all looking to the angel for hope, but the angel hides his/her face; in shame? Or fear? Or sadness?
Perhaps the people need to stop looking for some kind of saviour to help them but look to themselves and to each other and then to get on with the hard task of living in loving community. Maybe that’s why the angel hides, out of love, because as long as it seems like hope and salvation will come from above then people will never realise that it is in fact in their midst.
Today is Ash Wednesday , the beginning of Lent, when Christian tradition remembers the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness: a barren place without hope, direction, sustenance or identity. Bereft of all of those things that we can draw comfort and strength from it’s in the wilderness that we find our true selves.