Prayerful and Pastoral Reflections

Our weekly letter to all our closer contacts.

Here is a recent ‘Prayerful and Pastoral Reflections’, with a poem or “quote of the week” from our emailed resource.

Let us know if you would like to  receive the full email with prayers and music suggestions for personal prayer time  at home. Contact Jan to be added to our mailing list.

The Vestry Shop is now open again, so pop in for a chat and a browse. Books and Jigsaws are popular at the moment, so bring  in any you have finished, and grab another while you’re there!

Our Leadership Team and Church Council has been meeting regularly  to monitor pastoral  issues and keep the church safe through appropriate measures throughout the pandemic.  

We are able to meet again in increased numbers, but we are being cautious in our gathering together for the time being. See the “Gatherings During COVID” page for the times and dates of meeting.

Weekly Reflections

Dear Uniting Church Friends,

Welcome to this week’s Prayerful and Pastoral Reflections.

I couldn’t believe it! I had cancelled the subscription, but there on the bank statement was a charge for a full years Zoom plan. I was incredulous!

Incredulous in the word used in some translations to describe the disciples
first reaction to the risen Christ in the Easter stories. You may remember
a time when you felt that way.

Our book group has been reading “Faith after Doubt” by Brian McLaren, a very readable book about the growth of his faith through many phases of doubt and incredulity. He describes this process of growth as like a tree adding rings as it ages, becoming stronger and more sturdy through the years of growth.

I remember it being said that doubt is not the opposite of faith. They are two sides of the one coin.  Certainty, on the other hand, is the opposite of both doubt and faith. Certainty results in a form of fundamentalism in any circle, whether faith, politics, economics, or even science.

McLaren argues that doubt is the doorway to a growing and deepening faith. Depending on how we work with our doubts, of course, they are instrumental in us growing beyond a simple, black and white faith into the fullness of harmony, faith expressing itself in love. This sort of faith has more to do with trust in God, each other,  and in life itself than any sort of certainty about doctrines and beliefs.

I hope you can find a sense of hope in the resurrection stories, portents of new life and renewal, even as we face the trauma of the news about the pandemic, climate change, sexual abuse, and all of the other tragedies that our world suffers. They reassure us that, in spite of our disbelief, new life is possible.

May you find blessing, joy, and space for contemplation this Easter period.

 

We are a prayerful community,
and we invite you to find
a quiet moment to meditate
with these reflections.

Love and Blessings to you all.

Charles and Kerrie.

Quote for the Week

While they were still talking
about this, Jesus actually
stood in their midst
and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”

Luke 24:36 The Inclusive Bible

A Door to Discovery
(inspired by John 20: 24-29)

How strangely comforting,
That so many of your servants
Have doubted you.

So,
If I cannot always
see the sense
Of your Word;

If I do not always
feel confident
About my faith;

If I wonder
where your love is
In the face of pain
and death;

I am not the first.

A great company
of saints and martyrs
Has felt this way before me.

Now, in your presence,
They see face to face

And know as they are known.

Teach me, like them,
Not so much to fear doubt
As to see it
As a sign of the mystery of life
And a door to discovery.

— from More than Words,
© Saint Andrew Press 2008.

as close as (John 20:19-31)

in these moments
especially in these moments
we suddenly realise how
much we miss the human
touch (yes, even us introverts), so
you invite us to reach out
and touch

your wholeness offered
for our brokenness,

your healing given
for our hopelessness,

your love poured out
for our loneliness

 

when we put on masks
and need to stand
as far away as we can
from one another, you

come and breath
peace on us, so we
might find serenity in
all the confusion,

so we might find comfort in
the midst of all the uncertainty.

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman