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The Desert of Compassion

Devotions for the Lenten Journey

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Westminster John Knox Press
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The desert, a landscape both severe and beautiful, embodies spiritual struggle and divine support. Jesus experienced forty days of testing and transformation in the rugged Judean desert. Whether disease, social injustice, personal loss, or other challenges have led you to the spiritual desert, it may seem doubtful that any good can come from hardship. Yet it was the arid wilderness of physical deprivation and soul-deep testing that prepared Jesus to live a life of devotion, courage, and merciful service to others. Deserts have much to teach about vulnerability, tenacity, and the interdependence of living beings.The season of Lent, based on Jesus’ forty days in the desert, calls you to navigate your own trials with trust in God and compassion for yourself. By doing so, you can learn to treat your dear ones, your neighbors, and all creatures with care contoured by wisdom.

In these daily devotions for the Lenten journey, author Rachel M. Srubas draws on her life and learnings as a contemplative pastor, spiritual director, and desert dweller. Written in language both relatable and reverent, The Desert of Compassion provides daily Lenten sustenance inspired by sacred Scripture, present-day teachings, and personal experience. It is equally suitable for individual readers and spiritual formation groups.

You can access free digital resources, which include a group study guide, sermon series guide, and images for use during worship or study and to promote your outreach, at

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Rachel M. Srubas has been pastor of Mountain Shadows Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Tucson, Arizona, since 2006. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including Benedictine Promises for Everyday People: Staying Put, Listening Well, Being Changed by God and The Girl Got Up: A Cruciform Memoir.

The Desert of Comp...
Devotions for the ...
by Westminster John Knox Press
Rachel M. Srubas
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“Rachel M. Srubas weaves a rich fabric of spiritual and psychological wisdom, knitting the personal and communal, inward and outward, ordinary and profound. Each meditation sparkles with a vivid story and masterful metaphor. Over and over, her words led me to depth reflection and contemplative awareness. I didn’t want this book to end. It is one I will return to often and gift to others.” —Marjorie Thompson, author of Soul Feast

“During Lent we recall Jesus’ sojourn in the desert—a time for generosity, simplicity, and, most of all, prayer. Rachel Srubas’s vivid meditations make the season come alive as she invites us into our own desert places where Christ meets us with a love that will transform our hearts.”

—Carl McColman, author of Eternal Heart and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism

“Presbyterian minister and Benedictine oblate Rachel Srubas not only resides in the Sonoran Desert but also is immersed in desert spirituality. So, when you choose this desert dweller as your guide for this Lenten journey, you will savor the short Scriptures, hear what a divine voice might be saying, smile at the personal stories, and be lulled into contemplative repose when you dive deeply into Lent.”

 —Teresa Blythe, director of the Phoenix Center for Spiritual Direction and author of 50 Ways to Pray and Spiritual Direction 101

“Rachel Srubas has transformed my experience of Lent, rearranging my expectations for this sacred season. ‘Compassion flourishes’ in the Lenten journey, she says. And here’s what she means by that: Lent is a compassion practice–a grace-filled path of experiencing and enacting divine compassion for ourselves, others, and the world.”

 —Andrew Dreitcer, Professor of Spirituality and Codirector of the Center for Engaged Compassion, Claremont School of Theology

The Desert of Compassion is the companion I chose for my own Lenten journey — I read just enough to recommend it and am eager to return for a closer and more devotional reading starting Ash Wednesday. The combination of short Scripture passages, stories from the author’s life and poetic prayers speak to what I need this year.” – The Presbyterian Outlook

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List Price: $17.00
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