By Miriam Rossow

There were young and old; Indian, Arab, White, and Black. There were Catholics, Lutherans, Non-denominational and oh so many other varieties. There were pastors, and lay leaders; youth workers, and music staff. There were strong activists, quiet activists, stay-at home parents, business men and women, professors and teachers. We were all gathered together on a ranch in the mountains of Colorado to do one thing- follow Jesus.

The Simply Jesus gathering was held in the mountains at 4 Eagle Ranch outside of Vail, Colorado. It was a time for people to gather and share; cry and laugh; learn and teach as we gathered around Jesus.

We obviously did not all start from the same place. We have different theological perspectives from which we are viewing Jesus and His ministry and His work. The thing is, as we shared and listened to each other and as we worked to focus on Jesus, those differences were not as important. Or maybe they were not as visible at that time. As we focused our eyes on Jesus we were able to drop some of our differences and bask in the glory of the One we all follow and love and who loves all of us.

On our last day at the ranch (which happened to be after the gathering was done), Justin and I in the quiet of the morning walked up the side of the mountain. The air was brisk. The coffee was in hand. The horses were in the pasture. The rooster was crowing as the sun began to spread its light over the mountain edge. We were climbing so we could be greeted by the sunrise.

As we made it around the top, the sky was full of color. Above us was a turquoise blue, a light sky blue, and the edge of some clouds were dusted with a soft pink. The trees ahead of us were dark as the sun was coming up behind them and casting its bright light on them.

20160802_063611As we continued to watch, the sky changed as the sun began to rise. The pinks moved to different clouds. The mountains behind us became brilliant as the sunlight hit them. The blues moved around. The deep orange and salmon colors became a brighter yellow and then a soft yellow and then the sun reached the edge of the mountain and shone its light so strong I could not look directly into it.

But as I looked at the sky I noticed that the whole thing was lit up. There were no longer certain clouds with hints of pink. There was no longer a more brilliant blue. The sun was piercing through the trees and lighting up the whole vista. What a beautiful view to watch and quietly sit and enjoy.

I found that, as the people who came to this gathering drew in to Jesus and focused more on Him, the more our issues, differences, questions became less of the focus.

The light was always shining on and through us, just as the sunlight beamed out onto the morning sky. I could see the sun in the pink on the clouds that it hit, just as I could see Jesus, the Light, shining through those who came from a different background than I. And as the sun rose, the pink moved. As the sun rose, it became more in focus and lit up the whole sky. As Jesus, the Light, becomes more in focus and rises in our life, the brighter His light shines, lighting up the whole vista. Our differences seem to fade away when Jesus becomes the focus.

As I watched the sun rise I looked around at the whole vista and watched as the sun was reflected and changed the view. No matter where I looked, I could see the sun hitting the sky and lighting it up into a beautiful landscape.

Jesus shines His light into this world. When we look around we can see Him in the lives of those around us. We can see Him shining into the world and as He rises and becomes the focus, His light touches more and the differences fade away as the Light of the World shines on us all. Jesus will come again and when He does His light will be so bright that the differences will be no longer. The whole vista will shine with His glory!