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.



Jesus said, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ “ Mark 6:31

All year, some of us at Rio Grande have dedicated second Saturdays to hiking in the wilderness with other people of faith, from many churches across the city, in a new ministry called Worship in the Wilderness.

Begun by a young Methodist Pastor, Melissa Bemis Madera, a graduate of Duke Divinity School and avid backpacker, Worship in Wilderness affords many of us ‘city folk’ an opportunity to get away, in the words of Christ, to a ‘deserted place…to rest a while’ and, perhaps, discern life and what God’s still small voice has to say to us from a new perspective.

As Melissa writes in her blog ( the Worship in the Wilderness website:

Throughout history, many theologians have spoken about the deep connections between spirituality and nature. Within the Judeo-Christian faith, wilderness imagery has been used throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament alike to illustrate both beautiful and difficult encounters between God and humankind -from the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, to the Psalmist finding comfort in God leading him "beside the still waters," to Elijah hearing the voice of God whispering to him in the mountains, to Jesus retreating to a mountain to pray...

Worship in the Wilderness attempts to bring these three things (physical activity, spirituality, and nature) together in the context of a monthly hike with elements of worship built-in. It is our hope that as we carve out time to encounter God amidst the beautiful, surprising, and sometimes even slightly harsh landscape that surrounds us we will grow to see the wilderness as a powerful metaphor for our lives spent with God.”

This summer, kids from Rio Grande have the opportunity to participate in just this kind of experience in New Mexico on a Youth Backpacking Adventure, June 26-July 1. We thank God and Rio Grande Church for such times of refreshment, renewal, discernment and rest as Worship in the Wilderness affords.

Join us!

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