(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: For the graces of the Holy Spirit

O merciful God,

fill our hearts with the graces of the Holy Spirit,

with love, joy, peace,

patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Teach us to love those who hate us,

to bless those who curse us,

and to pray for those who abuse us,

that we may be the children of our Father:

who makes the sun shine on the evil and the good,

and sends rain on the just and unjust.

In adversity grant us grace to be patient;

in prosperity keep us humble;

may we guard the door of our lips;

may we lightly regard the pleasures of this world,

and thirst only after heavenly things;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

St Anselm, 1033-1109

(Sourced from A Treasury of Prayers in Uniting in Worship, copyright 1988 Uniting Church in Australia)


Matthew 22:34-40. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

(Mt 22:33-40 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

It is not hard during the many days at home to lose track of time and our sense of self. Jesus addresses this very question in his time when it seems his people have lost their way and wonder what God requires of them. Jesus reply showed it is really very simple to understand when you strip back the detailed requirements of God to what underpins it all.


Psalm 23 (NRSV) – An Affirmation of Faith As We Shelter at Home

(by Jenny Gordon Gippsland UCA Minister )

23:1a The LORD is my shepherd,

You are my loving shepherd, and I celebrate my place in your flock,

even while we are sitting apart from each other

you gather us together in love, you know us and call us by name.

23:1b I shall not want.

While around me I see panic about not having enough,

I am reminded that you provide what I need;

through the memory of your goodness,

through the kindness of my neighbours,

through your living word enfolding me.

23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;

In this time of sheltering at home,

I can enjoy the blessing of rest and the delight of immersing in stillness

knowing that I am not alone,

your gentle encouragement fills me, I drink deeply, until I sleep.

23:3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

You refresh me with wonder, and I notice small mercies;

soft textures, rich words, melodic laughter, sweet sounds.

You direct my thinking and walking, my working and talking

so that I might bring a blessing in your name.

23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff– they comfort me.

Even when I am afraid and lonely, at the end of my coping, you are with me,

steadying my breathing, bringing me back, reminding me of your strength beside me.

23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

You lay out a feast of goodness when I open my eyes to see it,

dismissing the doubters with your abundance.

You bless me with generous, gurgling grace and I can’t hold it all within me.

It spills out, flowing to others, drenching them in delight.

23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long

Bless whatever happens in my shadow, each day, while I keep my face to the light.

Living in your household I am recognised, loved, and held, each moment and for ever. Amen

Jennie Gordon, March 2020 – permission granted to use freely.


Daily Bread


O, loving God,

To turn away from you is to fall,

to turn toward you is to rise,

and to stand before you is to live for ever. Amen (Prayer by Augustine of Hippo)


Matthew 4:1-11. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

Thought for the Day:

We all find ourselves spending more time in our own home than we normally would. Some of us don’t mind a little down time after lots of busy-ness but it doesn’t take long for that to wear off. For others who don’t get out much, even those small outings have been taken away.

So how will we survive if this goes on for the next 6 months? This is both a psychological problem (which I will talk about in Sunday’s livestream worship) and a spiritual problem. What sustains us in life? What is our daily bread?

Jesus addressed this issue when the devil tempted him with several misleading temptations:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

(Mt 4:1-4 NIV)

A humorous version of this reading has the devil eagerly asking Jesus to turn the stones into toilet paper. Strangely, the reading still works because it is comparing what we desperately fight to possess compared with our true need; wisdom.

To be wise in life protects us against poor choices and temptation. To be wise in life helps us to be a blessing to those around us. To be wise is to find meaning all around us even when we are confined to our homes to keep the vulnerable safe.

Jesus points you to what will give you life right now; “every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

So take this rare opportunity to spend more time dwelling in the Scriptures. There is wisdom there for you. Do it daily and then it will be “your daily bread”. 2020 may be your time to grow closer to God and richer in life.


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins,

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever. Amen.

( Look for more devotions on our website over the weeks ahead)


Living Life in the Storm

(Devotion by Graeme Harrison)

Prayer: Lord, open the eyes of our heart that we may see you clearly and praise you, and that we may see ourselves through your eyes and be thankful.

Our reading picks up a theme from Jesus’ preaching that is repeated over and over again in the Gospel According to Matthew. A theme that will help us navigate the time we now live in. Can you pick it?

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Jesus (Mt 7 NIV)

The house is you. It is where you live including our body. In life this ‘house’ can be a home filled with peace that brings blessing to others. But if this house is allowed to run down then you won’t have another one to move in to. Jesus continually warns people against poor decisions in life “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mt 16:26

Does Jesus tell us what will help us keep our house/self in good shape. He does. The one who “hears these words of mine and puts them into practice”. Jesus words bring about well-being in ourselves and in others. It is precisely in the difficult time of testing “the storm” that we must decide whether to live out the words of Jesus or abandon them in anxiety and panic.

We are in the midst of one of these storms right now. Will we be loving as Jesus commanded or look at everyone with the eyes of suspicion? It is right to cut ourselves off from all physical contact and to keep social distancing. If this is an act of love for the sake of others we maintain our house/self and our sense of integrity- of being true to ourselves and our God. If we do the same action merely out of fear and anxiety then we damage our house/self. Jesus’ words bring life and light into all our interactions in this strange environment we now live in. Trust in him

In a time of social distancing, I have never been so proud of our church as everyone has rallied together over the last week to make sure our church family will be cared for now and into the future. People are realising that we will still now to worship and receive spiritual encouragement even if worship services are closed. Pastoral carers are committing to maintain phone contact in the months ahead. We are going to work on livestreaming worship and developing online ways of meeting. In every case love has been the motivation. The “storm” is battering at the house but it will stand because of those who “hear these words of mine and puts them into practice”.

May your foundations go down deep into the “rock” Jesus Christ. May you find life in this strange time. May Christ keep your ‘house’/self a place of peace and blessing to others.

Prayer: Thank you God that we have your words to sustain us and to guide us. We pray for all those who struggle not just with social distancing but with social isolation. May you be present there. May you open our eyes and help us to be the voice and love of Christ where we can. Amen

(Look for more devotions on our website over the weeks ahead)