One of the beautiful things you see at Snow Mountain Ranch is people coming together. People who are from very different places and cultures. People from different states, different countries, different cultures. Some come here for a job, for income. Some come here for training in hotel and restaurant operation. Some come for training in Christian discipleship. Ninety young adults who are in training as Navigators arrive next week. Navigators is a movement preparing college-age people for effective mission in the name of Christ. Heritage conferences are held for families with adopted Chinese, Indian, and other cultures on separate weeks. Hundreds gather to share experiences and celebrate the cultural heritage of their children while their kids experience playing with and getting to know dozens of others who share their own heritage. Dozens of retirees come here to volunteer time and energy and to enjoy the mountains and valleys of this beautiful area. Many families and groups come here for vacation or education. But something more happens.
New things are created here. Something happens to people. They come together in work teams. They make new friends and new circles of friends. They share fun, share work, and discover their oneness in spirit, oneness in values. These experiences move their souls with a sense of unity and purpose. New connections come into being. And not just with those in their group or team. Retired folks like ourselves eat meals with young people from other countries, or other parts of the USA.
One thing Snow Mountain Ranch wants to do is to provide “unifying experiences” for families, individuals, and staff. People do come together here in a spectacularly beautiful part of God’s creation, and something new is created here, again and again. Unifying experiences happen as people play, hike the trails, eat together, study, worship, and sometimes just sit in awe before the beauty in every direction. Oneness is created. Oneness is experienced. Of course, this happens in many other places, churches, and communities, wherever we align ourselves with Jesus’ way of life. But it is so boldly present here in the rich atmosphere that Snow Mountain Ranch fosters by its values, standards, programs, and people.
This oneness is a profoundly good thing. That’s why it moves our spirits so deeply. This oneness is not uniformity. It does not diminish or dissolve our personalities, our individuality. There is a kind of destructive unity, like the dominance of a dictator with armies and workers pressed into submission. In this comparison, we get a glimpse of the essential nature of what is good and what is evil. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest.” (John 10:10 NIV) Wherever people are treated as objects, or whenever they are ignored and diminished, we can move against that with Jesus’ goodness working in us as his new creation.
God is always busy creating, bringing us together into that marvelous symphony of grace where we accept one another, where we encourage one another, where we help one another to grow in mind, body, and spirit. That is what goodness is all about. The evil one wants us each to be alone, isolated, alienated, shrinking into nothingness. God is drawing us into his own marvelous life, a life of abundance, of goodness, and joy.