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.



"Those who sing, pray twice." --Augustine

There’s an old hymn, written in 1860, by Baptist minister Robert Lowry; later made prominent by folk singer Pete Seeger; and, more recently, Enya. It’s called, “How Can I Keep from Singing?” and you may remember it:

"My life flows on in endless song/Above earth’s lamentation/
I hear the sweet though far off hymn/That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife/I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul--/How can I keep from singing

Rio Grande has a great history of singing and, for several years, offered a series of community concerts. This summer, Rio Grande will offer its first “Journey of Praise” Music Camp, for kids in the neighborhood and around the city, June 18th-22nd (and volunteers and kids of all ages are welcome).

I am especially grateful for the gifts and dedication of our Choir Director, and Accompanist and Music Camp Director. Both are gifted musicians whose love of music blesses our worship of God. If you are one of those who like to sing, let them know and join the choir!

Indeed, singing—like prayer and worship--are all things Christians do best, in good times and bad, ‘through tumult and strife.’ Some attribute the songs of slaves to keeping the vision of freedom before them; and, the songs of South Koreans to some of the world’s fastest growing churches and greatest revivals.

And, sometimes, if we’re quiet, even the song of a little bird, outside on a branch, can waken us--not only from slumber, but, in the words of poet Naomi Shihab Nye, to “something we love that brings tears to our eyes”; “something too important to forget”: namely, that life is good--despite our wars and problems—in the words of Genesis, “very good, indeed.”

Easter is about that goodness: the goodness of God that overcomes evil; the life of God that overcomes death.

How can we keep from singing?

Yours in the Risen Lord,
A Pastor in the Desert