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.


Wilderness Lessons

“The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness…for 40 days.” -Mark 1: 12

In a cabin in the Columbia River Gorge, my husband and I learned a little about wilderness living: in winter, never buy more groceries than you can carry (or pull on a sled); but, always have groceries (in case a major storm blows through); never assume water or electricity are facts of life (they aren’t); get a good wood stove (a cord of wood and matches); know your neighbors; expect the unexpected; learn to delight in the quiet of trees, the howl of coyotes, spring flowers.

In short, simplicity is necessity in wilderness, so is being prepared. We learned this when we lived there, but, I confess, it’s easy to forget in the apparent comfort and convenience of a city. We don’t have a wood stove, anymore, for instance, or even a cord of wood. We tend to take water and electricity for granted; and, we aren’t really expecting any major storms.

We need the wilderness. It reminds us “what matters most”, and inspires us to get “back to basics.” Wilderness has a way of repudiating the frivolous and unnecessary, demanding, in their place, focus and direction. Maybe that’s why many of God's friends, throughout the Bible, spent time there: Moses, David, and--for the 40-days before Easter, in the season we call “Lent”, which begins this year on Ash Wednesday, February 25th--even Jesus.

May this Lent be a kind of wilderness journey for us: a time to remember “what matters most” to God, and, then, rekindling our focus & attention on doing it!

Yours on the Journey,
A Pastor in the Desert