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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  to be added to our mailing list.

Weekly Reflections

Dear Uniting Church Friends,

Welcome to this week’s Prayerful and Pastoral Reflections. 

There is a story in the book of Deuteronomy where Moses climbs Mount Nebo and addresses the people. Ahead of him, he can see the the promised land, which the people are about to enter. Behind him is the wilderness, where the people have wandered for forty years after being liberated from slavery. There in the wilderness, they have buried their dead, as a generation has passed on, and given birth to a new generation. The twist in the story is that Moses himself knows he will not enter the land. The people will move into the future with only memories of traditions that have been handed down, and their own experience of desert wandering.

It is a poignant story to reflect on as we enter our lenten “wandering,” and also as we contemplate the griefs that carry. Grief is the theme that has permeated our reflections and thoughts over the past few weeks.

Whatever our personal grief situation, we are presented with the question of what we might carry with us into the future, and what we need to leave behind in the wilderness.

The gospel of Matthew uses the motif of the promised land in a symbolic way to describe what lies ahead- what might be termed “resurrection life.” Lent is a period of looking toward Easter and contemplating what it is we ought to carry with us into the future – what it is that will empower us to be an authentic community of grace and compassion. The Temptations reading reflects this.
The cost of that journey is great, because we are looking towards Good Friday and the Cross. Yet beyond that, beyond the pain and grief of Good Friday, there is this thing called resurrection life.

The desert prayers and reflections attached are a prompt for us to take this wilderness journey seriously, and ponder where God may be leading us, and what we ought to take with us.

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

Desert wind
blow through me.
Expose me.
Let the sun of your grace
sear down to its bones
my sin.
Erode the stones
of my wants.
I walk among
my desires’ skeletons laid bare. Starve me of all
but you.
There in the wild, the empty,
be my only food.
In the harsh be my only safety, in the solitude my one true love. In my fear bear me,
in my aloneness join me,
in my weakness be me.
In this valley of my death
be my life,
verdant and eternal.
-Steve Garnaas-Holmes, “Unfolding Light”

…there are so many deserts within reach. …
in bustling suburban and urban centres,
In detention centres,
under bridges with the homeless in the middle of the night,
in the eyes of a palliative care patient…
Perhaps these are the postmodern desert mothers and fathers.

Perhaps contemplative spaces
can be found wherever people skirt the margins of inclusion.
Perhaps those whom we value least have the most to teach.

Richard Rohr- adapted

This desert may initially seem barren,
dull, and colourless, but eventually
our perceptions start to change….
Here we empty ourselves of our own obstacles to God.
In the space of this emptiness,
we encounter the enormity of God’s presence….
The ammas [Desert Mothers]
teach us that the desert becomes
the place of a mature repentance
and conversion toward transformation into
true radical freedom.

Laura Swan, The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women