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.


Traveling Mercies

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” -Luke 18:8

While serving as campus minister at Vanderbilt University, I wrote (in yet another newsletter)Into the World:

The philosopher Gabriel Marcel wrote that the only way to journey through life is with the mind-set of a traveler. Travelers, he wrote take nothing for granted, notice everything, and rely, most of all, on kindness…especially the kindness of strangers…Sometimes it takes an earthquake or a hurricane to remind us what the homeless in our streets and the streets around the world have known for quite a while now: that our life on earth is fragile, and our need for one another great...”

These words were written during a decade when storms with names like Hugo and Andrew ripped through neighborhoods in Florida; and mudslides devastated towns in South America. In this decade, Katrina’s rage revealed stuff we don’t often think about while on vacation in New Orleans; and this month's cyclone and earthquake which demolished whole towns--leaving children orphaned and mother’s weeping--remind us, again, of places with unfamiliar names and people living in circumstances we never really notice.

Sometimes it does take an earthquake or a hurricane to remind us what it is that matters most. But, with food and oil prices rising (folks from the Rio Grande Food Project tell me a 50 lb. bag of rice is up from $11 to $30, and, with it, a 32% increase in the number of food project clientele) that may be changing.

What doesn’t change is the necessity for faith that endures, despite the world‘s tragedies, and costly kindness that reaches out to strangers.

Jesus asked his disciples, his students, a difficult and disturbing question, one worth pondering: “When the Son of Man comes“--that is Jesus Christ--“will he find faith on earth?“ Or, will the world be so ravaged by storms and poverty, floods and earthquakes, hatred and war, there will be no one left, anymore, who believes in God, or in God’s goodness and God’s kindness?

The answer depends, in part, on our faithful endurance and kind response.

Yours in Christ’s Service,
A Pastor in the Desert