The following Easter reflection was originally written after The Gathering, an annual clergy retreat of the Desert Southwest Conference.
The clergy of The Desert Southwest Conference have gathered at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks in Tucson for the last 4 years, and it has always been a good gathering. This year was no different as we gathered together.
For the past 3 years, I’ve often wondered where the road went that continued past the Center. I’ve always told myself that one of these days I would find out. I could see that the road went up the hill and behind the mountain. I even remember asking where the road went. The answer was “to some small communities,” but of course, I was not satisfied with that answer.
This year was going to be the year I would find out what was behind the mountain. Our free time on Wednesday afternoon gave me the opportunity to explore. So off I went, following the road up the hill and around behind the mountain. I was excited and could hardly wait. What was behind the mountain?
Oh my God! There was beauty, exquisite beauty; I had stumbled upon the Saguaro National Park. For two hours I spent time relishing in this beauty and praying. I could hardly wait to go back to tell others what I had seen and experienced.
This is how it should be with our faith. We should be ready and willing to take a step further into an unknown place God is calling us to. There we find joyfulness, beauty, and peacefulness. We keep trusting and believing in what God has for us, and then we find all kinds of treasures. When we trust with our whole heart, God does not disappoint.
Just like the women at the tomb on Easter morning, they went to tend to a body that wasn’t there; but, they did not know it until they got there. Once they encountered the angel, they ran to tell the disciples the great news. Now, not everyone will be as excited as you, but that’s OK. Go ahead and share all that you have experienced, and great will be your reward.
Easter is around the corner (just around the mountain), we are not ready to go there, but when the first one arrives, there will be great celebration in all that exquisite beauty. Come let us celebrate the risen Christ, then go tell the good news! He is risen!
I hereby command you: be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (RSV)