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.


A Hundred Little Communion Cups

Last month, I had the privilege and blessing, to attend a Faith/Arts Conference at St. John’s College. Image Journal, a 20-year-old Seattle faith/arts magazine, hosts this conference each year in Santa Fe.

Gathered, together, were Christian artists, poets, sculptors, painters, and songwriters from everywhere. It was the first time, in my experience, I heard people, like me, talk freely about their art and their faith, and how the two intersect. I was inspired: both at the quality of the conversation and the excellence of the art; and thankful for the time and support you at Rio Grande gave me to attend.

St. John’s College is a lovely, meditative campus--complete with towering fir trees, bell towers, and, even, a Koi pond. On the last day of the conference, one artist strung hundreds of little plastic communion cups together, from a floor to ceiling window, each with a red bead in them, signifying the blood of Christ, through which light shone.

In the evenings, there were speakers and, once-in-a-while an open mic for poets and songwriters. There was, also, a worship service, led by Debbie Blue, pastor at House of Mercy Church in St.Paul, Minnesota, and author, too. In her book, Sensual Orthodoxy, she writes:

During a meal with his disciples, Jesus takes off his clothes, wraps a towel around his loins, pours water into a basin, and begins to wash the disciples’ feet, wiping their feet with the towel which he was using to cover himself.

That’s a crazy story to tell to illustrate the love of God… It makes sense that the whole thing would arouse indignation. How could God be so immodest and insensible, to not only become incarnate in the world…but to…suffer and die naked on a cross?You would think God would show a little more restraint than that…(be more)…pious and sensible…

I don’t know how you feel about your feet or having someone rub them with a towel? Maybe you find it hard…to believe God loves passionately…(Discipleship) is not about posturing. It’s about being who you are, the beloved. "

May this new year at Rio Grande, which traditionally starts in September, be one of renewed vision of how we can better love…God and one another.

Yours on the Journey,
A Pastor in the Desert