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.



We live in a society absorbed with ourselves and food. One study suggested we, as a nation, are the most obese people on earth (ironically, with the most anorexics). Either we obsess about what we don’t eat or what we do. Either we don’t care about what we eat; or we care too much (to fit some media stereotype carved into our collective vision).

I think about this every time I go to the grocery store and pass the olive section: three rows of beautiful, all variety, olives. Olives with garlic. Olives with almonds. Olives that are dark green. Olives that are light green. Olives that are black. Olives with pimentos. Olives without them.

I think to myself, “Look at all these olives. I live in a country with grocery stores full of olives I can sample, while half the world can’t find a cup of rice to feed their family.” Maybe I’m odd, but I find myself thinking about this lately, every time I pass the olive section. I think about this country’s obsession with food; and weight; and media images that have the power to shape a whole society’s(many society’s) idea of ‘beauty’.

The prophet Jeremiah, called ‘the weeping prophet‘(whose messages from God we will be reading every Sunday in September), looked at the society in which he lived, around 2,600 years ago, and said things like:

O that my head were a spring of water/and my eyes a fountain
of tears,/that I might weep day and night for…my poor people…/
(who) have grown strong in falsehood and (weak) in truth.

Like Isaiah--who said “For lack of knowledge, people starve”--the prophet Jeremiah reminded his contemporaries how quickly the fortunes of the rich can change and the so-called 1st become the 3rd world and vice-versa.

It’s clear, in this society, we are not starving for food. Not now. But, I wonder, if we are starving for a vision beyond the images on our television sets and in our magazines? If so, where will we find it if not through the Church? Are we, in the Church, ’feeding’ people--in a culture good at appearances and blind to the rest--what they need the most?

I hope so.

In Christ’s Service,
A Pastor in the Desert