Grace Notes in the Desert

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

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



“Jesus said to her,
Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? ’ --John 20:15

When I was 7-years-old my 5-year-old brother died. I still remember his tiny bed, with its red corduroy bedspread, and how it looked the night I came home with my sister.

We had stayed at our grand parents house the day he died. Our parents had wanted to shield us from death and ambulances and coroners and my brother’s lifeless body. But, when we came home, and saw his little bed, with its bedspread tucked in and folded around it so neatly, we knew something was amiss: our brother was gone; and only his little empty bed remained-- in the room where he should have been sleeping.

Every year, we have a tradition of placing daffodils upon his grave at the cemetery where his name and five short years are displayed on a plaque upon the grass. It is always quiet there; the grass is soft and the smell of pine trees lingers in the air—those old pine trees that seem to know everything about our brevity upon the earth.

Death is what hurts us most in this world—at least those of us who are left to bury someone we love. Yet, the Apostle Paul and others who’ve met the Risen Lord, along whatever paths they’ve journeyed, have an audacious thing to say to us left standing over gravesides or empty beds:

"O, death, where is thy victory? O, death, where is thy sting?..
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

The Apostle Paul could say that because he’d met the Risen Lord—and that encounter changed him…changed him from Saul…a man who hated Christians…to Paul…Christ’s lead evangelist.

Who knows what might happen to us if we, too, meet him, the Risen Lord? Even so, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Yours in the Risen Lord,
A Pastor in the Desert

*1 Corinthians 15: 54-57