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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.

These weekly letters began during COVID19 pandemic and have since continued on a regular basis. They keep us connected with our broader community. They are uploaded here semi-regularly.

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 via email at unitingqueenscliff@iinet.net.au  to be added to our mailing list.

Weekly Reflections

Dear Uniting Church Friends,

Welcome to this week’s Prayerful and Pastoral Reflections.

As we hurtle towards Christmas, the commercial world would like us to rush, rush, rush and to buy, buy, buy- to bow down to that great God of consumption that secular society has invented for us to worship.

The season of Advent invites us into a different narrative. A time of quiet, pausing, reflection as we prepare for the coming of Christ into this broken world.

In ancient and turbulent times, prophets and gospel writers used apocalyptic language to describe their hopes for the future. In the midst of war, struggle, poverty and hunger, people were encouraged to dream big and to look forward to a time of promise and peace.

In weapons of war, the prophet Isaiah sees the possibility of instruments of peace. In the destruction of the temple, and the ruins of the city, Matthew sees the possibility of a new city, a new Jerusalem- a place of peace and harmony.

There is a gap between the now and the not-yet and it is in that gap that we all live. The gap between our present world, full of suffering, injustice and violence, and the world of promise that ferments quietly in our deepest prayers.

Advent invites us to pause and consider these deepest prayers as a divine gift.

Sally Longley’s book “Conversations with Silence” continues to bless us with rich images for contemplation. Chapter 6 speaks of the Japanese concept of “MA”, of emptiness full of possibility. MA is feature of architecture, garden design and art as well as every day life. MA is a sacred pause in the midst of a busy life; MA is a sacred space in the environment.

I hope that you might find time for “MA” in your daily routine- space to honour the divine spark in your life and room to receive that which the Spirit offers.

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

Love and Blessings to you all.

Charles and Kerrie.

Quote for the Week

“Patience does not mean
to passively endure.
It means to be farsighted
enough to trust the end
result of a process.

Patience is not sitting
and waiting, it is foreseeing.
It is looking at the thorn
and seeing the rose,
looking at the night
and seeing the day.”
-Elif Shafak

A further reflection on a pause

A pause…
A gap in the human go
Where the Divine squeezes through.
Extend the pause
Widen the gap
And Lord only knows
what might emerge!
Noel Davis
Together at the Edge

Reflections on writing
the Tenderness Icon

We painted mostly in
silence … layer upon layer of paint,
layer upon layer of
silence. In this tradition
it is understood that the
paint is received by the board,
just as we were to be
receptive to God’s movements in us.

…we were encouraged to become
one in prayer with the painting,
the brush, … the guiding hand of the Spirit.
Just as the board received
the paint with a surrendered- ness,
Gelassenheit—the tranquil
submission that the mystics
speak of in the Presence of the Divine—
so too my spirit was to
become surrendered
to this gentle Artist-Spirit.
Longley, Sally. Conversations with Silence