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.


Where is God?

In her poem Conscientious Objector, Edna St. Vincent Millay writes:

"I shall die,but/that is all that I shall do for Death... /Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,/ I will not tell him which way the fox ran.../I will not tell him the whereabouts of my friends,/ nor of my enemies either./Though he promise me much, /I will not map him the route to any man's door..."
The poem describes the courage of one who fears violating their own conscience more than death; yet, I wonder, who, among us, can honestly say they do not fear death's shadow when it falls close to home, their home or someone else's?

I thought about this recently when my father died. I sat on the back porch, at night, wondering "Where are you? Where did you go? And, why?" And, the darkness was palpable. "Are you going to preach at your father's service?", someone asked me. "No," I thought, but, later,reconsidered; and in the process of meditating on my father's life, and God's faithful goodness in it, the darkness lifted a little, the sun came out.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering in the dark: "Where is God?" and "How could God allow this to happen?", God has an answer. It is God Himself: suffering with us, alongside us, enduring the worst this world inflicts. In Jesus Christ, God takes our worst--the Bible calls it “Sin”--upon Himself, "enduring death, even death on a cross". God is not far off. God is not aloof. In Jesus Christ, God is with us. Or, as one Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor put it:

'Where is God?', you ask, pointing to three young boys hanging on a Nazi gallows. 'God is here,right here,hanging on this gallows.'

To those left standing at our Lord's graveside, in the shadow of His cross, an angel said: "Do not be afraid; I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'The Lord is Risen!…’ This is my message for you."**

This is God's message for all of us. May God give us the faith to believe, and believing, the power to overcome!

Yours in the Risen Lord,
A Pastor in the Desert

*Night, Ellie Wiesel
**Matthew 28: 5-7