Mar 18

Theologian and philosopher, Blaise Pascal once said that wars would cease if occasionally people could only sit quietly alone in their rooms.

If Pascal meant that our task as followers of Christ was to prayerfully reflect on who we are before God, and what God does for us at Easter, then I agree with him. But as we head towards another Easter, we could be forgiven for thinking that too few people really know God’s love and peace.

The time before Easter, the season of Lent, is a time of preparation for the church. Traditionally it has been a season where candidates ready themselves to be baptized into the faith on Easter Sunday. It was common for the candidates to knock on the door of the church to have the priest ask the question, “What do you seek?” The answer would come back, “New life in Christ.” The candidates would then be invited into the church to be placed in the midst of the congregation, highlighting that they are received into the community of faith.

If only more people would be welcomed into communities and know that they are loved by fellow human beings and by God! If only those who know God’s love would find the courage to sit quietly before God and allow God’s love to purify their hearts, souls and desires.

Lent and Easter are regular seasons on our Christian calendars, not because Jesus needs to die again and again, but because our process of purification is a lifelong one. It is easy to seek “New life in Christ”, but much more difficult to let go of revenge, or to let go of the lust for power, wealth and domination. This is why Lenten reflection is as important to us as it is to first-time baptismal candidates.

But until that time when all wars cease, Pascal provokes us to sit quietly in our rooms. This Lent and at other times we are called to consider who we are as God’s creatures, and who we are as people in this complex web of humanity and creation. And at this point of reflection we are reminded again how important Easter is to us. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Sitting alone to genuinely consider who we are before God takes great courage. But once we know just how much God loves us, we are given what we need to allow God into the depths of our hearts and souls. Once we allow God to touch us deeply, it is time to right the prejudices, the hatred, and the parts of us that are wounded. And if we allow God’s love to touch us deeply, we are far less likely to dump our wounded nature onto others. Knowing that we belong in God’s love, knowing that we have life forever in God’s name, knowing that we belong in God’s community will transform the world towards Pascal’s vision for peace.

Please immerse yourself in God’s community knowing that you have a place to belong. And please immerse yourself in quiet reflection or prayer that you may fully know God’s Easter gift for you. And together we will find ‘new life in Christ’.

Blessings, Rev. Arnie

Mar 17

Pope Benedict called on Catholics to examine whether worldly desires had corrupted their faith, as he commemorated Palm Sunday before a crowd holding palm fronds and olive branches.

In a service to mark Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem a week before being crucified, Pope Benedict asked the faithful to remember that greed was also a form of idolatry that could creep into their daily life.

“Is our faith pure and open enough?” said the Pope, seated on a dais in front of St. Peter’s basilica, wearing red, gold and white vestments. “Do we perhaps let idols, through various means, enter in the world of our faith?”


Mar 16

It is a very human trait to project onto Jesus all our desires and wants. As Jesus enters Jerusalem, a crowd makes a great fanfare and fuss over him, but they do not really know who it is they hail, or what it is they are seeking.

Sermon 16th March, 2008 (pdf)
St. David’s Uniting Church, Oakleigh
Rev. Arnie Wierenga

Mar 16

Worship that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.

A service of Holy Communion

Mar 16

St. David’s (English) at 9am

Tamil Church Melbourne at 10:30am

Mar 16

Monday to Wednesday – 30 minute worship in the St. David’s sanctuary

Thursday – Footwashing service (combined Tamil Church Melbourne and St. David’s)

Mar 11

PopeThe Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI will host a ground-breaking “summit” of Catholic and Muslim leaders in November.

The “Catholic-Muslim Forum” from November 4 to 6, will bring together 24 dignitaries from each faith on the theme of “love God, love your neighbour,” it said.


Mar 10

About 100,000 Australians are now classified as homeless, and the number is growing.

HomelessBut the man charged by the Federal Government to help fix this massive human tragedy, social welfare expert Tony Nicholson, is confident that figure can be more than halved within a decade.

However he says the solution demands much more than extra beds.


Mar 9

It can be difficult amidst the pace of life to find a space that is quiet and reflective. It is not always easy to find a labyrinth like many have this weekend at the Augustine centre. But one simple way to take a few moments between emails or while surfing online is to check out the church resources ‘quiet space‘ online. In addition to the quiet space they have daily gospel reflections and other prayer resources, including those submitted by users.

The St. David’s Uniting Church in Oakleigh offers monthly labyrinth prayer and meditation walks also. There is an online labyrinth for you to trace at any time should you be seeking a quiet labyrinth space.

Mar 8

A researcher argues that it is wrong to “demonise” private education as a source of social tension or divisiveness. Instead, Jennifer Buckingham argues, it is time to consider why some parents want to send their children to religious schools.

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