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.



"Consider the lilies of the field..." -Matthew 6:28

The first house my husband, Michael, and I, owned was a little rustic cabin,in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge, 45 miles from Vancouver, WA—in a place so wild it sometimes seemed our only friends were Douglas Fir trees. In the winter, snow kept us from our driveway (a mile up from the main road); and 70-mph winds often blew out the electricity.

But, in the Spring, the most delicate ferns, uncurled, and everywhere were white and purple lupine flowers and foxglove. Our first two children were born near that wilderness; and, more than a few poems were inspired there, among them:

...They say that heaven's streets
are laid in agate, onyx, amethyst, beryl.
I say that heaven’s streets are strewn with flowers.
Flowers from the wedding chambers,
Flowers from the church.
Flowers from the funerals.
Flowers from the earth.

Flowers soft as baby’s breath
Flowers, strong as love and death.
Funny, after everything,
Flowers still remain

Serving as a pastor these 20+ years, I have, on more than one occasion, seen not only the endurance of plants that, somehow, outlive winter, but the faithful who, somehow, with God’s grace, overcome and flourish despite life’s storms.

Lent begins early this year on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 6. It’s a time to think, pray and rededicate ourselves to faith in God that helps us overcome the world’s dark nights, rekindling hope in resurrection. May it be so--for you, and me, and us, together!

Blessings on the Journey toward Easter,
A Pastor in the Desert