the desert road

Apr 30, 2020

“The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying,
‘Be ready to set out at noon along the road
that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.’
So he set off on his journey.”

You don’t expect much to happen on a desert road, but today’s first reading is an inspiring account of an event on the desert road that leads to a new lease of life for a weary traveller.

These days we find ourselves in an unprecedented time of opportunity, walking together a remarkable desert in which normal occupations and routines are not available to us.

These are difficult days that challenge us to our core. But crisis and challenge is the guise under which many invitations to growth come to us.

A few days ago I commented that we don’t get enough time for the kind of thinking that enables growth. For me good reading is a great companion, engaging my mind, my emotions, every bit of my reality, all prompted by the broad experience and perspective of a good writer.

So I encourage you to read this, a little book (less than half an hour of reflective reading) by Julian Carron. Here are the opening paragraphs.

The situation we are experiencing has made us aware that, for a number of years, we have lived, in some sense, as if we were in a bubble that protected us from the blows of life. And so, we went about our lives distracted, pretending that we could control everything. The circumstances, however, spoiled our plans and gave us a rude awakening, telling us to take ourselves seriously and rethink our situation in life. In recent days, reality has torn apart our more or less peaceful routine by taking on the threatening face of COVID-19, a new virus, which has caused an international health emergency.

Reality, which we often try to escape, looking for space to breathe since we are incapable of being with ourselves, has this time been unrelenting, forcing the majority of us to stay put, shut in at home. In this isolation, our real situation in life is coming to light– perhaps for the first time in such a clear way affecting everyone. I read years ago in an American newspaper about a prisoner, who, forced to come to terms with years without freedom, could no longer avoid “stopping and thinking.” We, too, who are so used to a thousand ways of running away from ourselves and from the deeper call sounded by the things that surround us, have perhaps been forced to stop and think during this time.

What burst the bubble of a life that was under control? An unforeseen and unforeseeable interruption of reality, wearing the face of the coronavirus.

Click on the title below to continue reading: Don’t read it trying to remember every sentence as if to prepare for an exam. Just relax and read. Perhaps a sentence or a phrase gives you enough encouragement for the day or week ahead. Try reading two or three pages to see if it invites you to read further. It is some of the best food for faith I’ve had in weeks.






St. Paul’s in Papanui Christchurch makes it again. Thanks Fred.  Bell tower (& Church) pics still welcome – send to
Thursday Easter Week III  (15 minutes)

Thursday Easter Week III  (25 minutes)


  1. Here in the United States, Colorado, to be exact, I so welcome your posts. As a leadership mentor, looking at life in 8 dimensions, with our Father/Son/Spirit God at the core of the Circle of Life…….so often, what you offer fits so well into the nurture and encouragement of those I’ve the sacred privilege of mentoring. Thank you! God bless you!!!

  2. All who BELIEVE shall live forever!
    Powerful words full of hope.
    Praying today for all who believe, and those who struggle with belief.

  3. Do you know that on our very own Desert Road is a small cross on top of one of those huge pylons? It’s roughly about a third of the way in on the left heading north from the Wellington side. It’s fun to hunt for – then when you find it you are reminded how He is truly Lord of the mountains and warmth and hope in the cold.

  4. Having just read Julian Carron’s ‘Reawakening our Humanity’ l am
    challenged to become more aware of the possibilities of seeing this ‘desert’ time as a precious time of ‘casting our cares’ on the One who loves us in our fragility and vulnerability.
    Now is the time to explore why am I here and why the suffering
    And maybe arriving at the conclusion that all will be well if only i can let go and let God.
    Thank you again John for the pearls of wisdom that you bring to us each day!
    Godbless you on your work.

  5. We are given desert times for a purpose.
    Jesus had His 40 days desert time and rose above all temptations quoting Our Father’s scriptures that He fully knew.
    God always rewards faithfulness to His Word.
    That is our discipline under His Authority.
    Coming to know this is key.

  6. Just finished reading the Carron book. Such thoughtful weaving of the new threads we have been gifted with at this time. Nothing worse could happen than a return to normal. This desert time offers us a priceless gift and Carron traverses the territory we find ourselves with intelligence and grace. Thanks again.

  7. Dear Father John, I pray that you will continue posting the “Lectio Divina” from hereon and will not stop. I find meditating on this such a beautiful experience. Thank you, Father. May God bless and keep you always. Stay safe. Peace!


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