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.



"The light shines in the darkness..." -John 1:5

I'll never forget one winter evening in Nashville, TN, when 300 homeless men, a dozen women, a couple seminary professors and myself all stood in the dark, behind Room in the Inn, waiting for it to open so those in need of shelter could be driven to some of Nashville's, then, 800 churches and a few synagogues to get out of the cold.

As we waited, someone, with a guitar, began to sing “Amazing Grace.” Others began singing with him. Soon, a whole chorus of people were singing in the dark. I listened and, hard as I tried, I could not keep from crying. Tears streamed down my face, hitting the ground. A homeless man nearby noticed and, motioning others to come over, said “Why, would you look at that? She’s crying because we're homeless.” And, they all stood around me in a kind of astonished silence.

But, that wasn't the reason, really. It was because, at night, in an alley, in winter, people with nothing were singing a song about God's grace. Not exactly a song sung by angels, but the sort of song shepherds, also with nothing, might have heard, on another night, as they, too, watched and waited.

Advent is that kind of waiting: waiting in the dark for God's light to shine; waiting in winter for Christmas, God's grace, to happen--to be born-- in unexpected, unpredictable places. May that happen for you this Advent.

In God’s Grace,
A Pastor in the Desert