Grace Notes in the Desert

Grace Notes in the Desert is written for the saints of Rio Grande Presbyterian Church and the surrounding community.

My Photo

Grace Notes acknowledges we need God's grace and forgivness as much as the desert water.



"Jesus said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."
--Matthew 4:17

Former Duke University Chaplain and, now, Methodist Bishop,Will Willimon tells a story about a college student who approached him after Christmas, saying “Do you really expect me to believe all that stuff about angels and virgin births?” To which Willimon responded, “You think that’s incredible? Come back next week. Then you’ll hear about how ‘God has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.’ If you have trouble with the virgin birth, just wait…the really incredible stuff is yet to come."

February 21st, Ash Wednesday, begins the season of Lent: those forty days when Christians around the world fast, pray, engage in spiritual disciplines and put aside whatever’s standing in the way between themselves and God: to make room for the truly incredible event of Easter: a man—like us, but, then, not quite like us --dead, one day, on a cross, and, then, three days later, alive, asking Jewish women journeying with ointments to a tomb:

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Or, in the words of Will Willimon: “If you (had) trouble with the virgin birth, just wait…the really incredible stuff is yet to come.”

So, how are we, in the 21st Century, to believe in the power of God (especially in a world that often looks a lot more like Good Friday than Easter)? It is an age-old question. But, Lent, I suggest, is a good opportunity to think about just those kinds of questions…and to ‘give up’ more than just a piece of candy (or many pieces) or glass of wine (or many glasses)--though if candy/or wine are what get in your way of a closer relationship and walk with God, by all means give them up!

But, maybe there are other things, more subtle, standing in between ourselves and God: like cynicism; incredulity; hard-heartedness; unforgiveness?

Lent is a good time to let go of these as well, remembering that Jesus’ first words to those who followed him were: “Repent, (ie., change your heart, change your mind, turn around, re-turn to God) for God’s Kingdom is at hand.”

If we will, the really incredible stuff is yet to come!

Yours in Christ,
A Pastor in the Desesrt