My journey to Grace in the Desert Episcopal Church has left me, once again, in awe of the many blessings with which God has graced my life. Each Sunday, whether I serve at the altar or sit in the pews, I am continually reminded of just how powerful God’s love can be when it is openly received from Him in community and then returned to that community through acts of kindness, compassion, and stewardship. As we work together each day – the entire congregation, all us ordained and lay – to celebrate our Lord and Savior in the study of Scripture, prayer, music, and celebration of the Holy Eucharist, I am reminded of Mary’s words in Luke 1:46-49:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
God has truly done great things for all of us here at Grace in the Desert. He has bestowed on us many gifts; some that we may take for granted, like printed programs, music, and flowers, and others that are hard to miss, like Fr. Dale’s and Wayne’s dedicated and blessed leadership, and the astounding number of ministries that the congregation has embarked upon.
However, I do not believe that any of these gifts would exist without the ability to first receive them from God. That’s what makes Grace in the Desert so special. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has opened their heart to Christ, and has allowed the Holy Spirit to enter their soul. Our collective souls, so filled with the Spirit, then bring a life and a light to our Church that is, perhaps, the biggest gift of all.
As we approach the Advent season; as we prepare, yet again, for the coming of Christ in our lives and our souls, I pray that we will all remember that God’s gifts are for giving, and that in giving we receive the greatest gift of all – God’s love, and a peace that passes all understanding.