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.



                 "...And Jesus said, 'Come away by yourselves and rest a while.' --Mark 6:31

Last summer my 9-year-old son, Jacob, traveled with me to Ghost Ranch Retreat Center in Abiquiu, NM, to stay at the ranch where Georgia O'Keefe painted and generations of Presbyterians and fellow pilgrims have traveled (to likewise paint, sculpt, study, reflect, and otherwise take in the breathtaking panorama of red plateaus and ancient cottonwood trees).

Of course, Ghost Ranch is not the Hyatt (which Jacob promptly let me know as soon as we got there by exclaiming, 'We're staying here? You're kidding, right?"'); but he soon acclimated to the great views of unencumbered stars at night, and the bunk bed, from our very rustic, mesa-top cabin.

To tell the truth, luxury hotels have lost their appeal for me; instead, I favor quiet retreats in unlikely places like Laity Lodge (a place I discovered, for the first time, last fall) in the remote blue bonnet hill country of Leaky, Texas (where Madeleine L'Engle used to write her books) and artists, writers, musicians and people of faith visit, annually, for year-round retreats.

This year, at the request of Presbytery, groups of clergy will travel somewhere together to discuss a book entitled Acts written by Beverly Gaventa, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. My group opted to travel this month to the Pecos Monastery (where guests are welcomed and hospitality extended to anyone wishing to make a retreat). Other monasteries around the country welcome guests, too, including The Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, MA, or the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tennessee--both beautiful, prayerful, peaceful places.

All of this to say, if you travel this summer I hope you find peace in one of these, or another, special place you know where you can think, pray, rest, and 'come away', for a while, refreshed and renewed; and I thank you, at Rio Grande, for the gift to do so.

Blessed Trails,
A Pastor in the Desert