This time last week we were in the middle of Ignite Conference, a powerful and transformational four days. I don’t know about you but my post-conference week has been brutal. I miss you all. I miss chilling out in the festival with you, I miss the random conversations that start in the food line, I miss the rallies with the incredible speakers and I miss worshipping our God with you. It really is a ‘mountain top’ experience. In a life of highs and lows, Ignite Conference is a highlight for me every year.
The problem is we can’t stay at the top of the mountain, we must come back down and if your anything like me, you come down with a crash. The disciples knew that feeling too. Living life alongside Jesus was full of mountain top experiences, literally. The Transfiguration was this incredible event at the top of a mountain, that Saints Peter, James & John witnessed.
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.
Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three dwellings—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified.
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.
Mark 9: 2-8
I can relate to St Peter, a part of me wants it to be Ignite every weekend and to never leave. But that’s not realistic and it’s an awful waste as well. What a waste it would have been if the disciples had stayed on that mountain and never shared their experiences with the future Church. What are you wasting by leaving your experience of Christ at Ignite and not bringing it down the mountain?
So, if you’re like me and your battling those post-conference blues, I’ve got a few tips for you.
1. Don’t leave Jesus up the mountain.
How did you experience Jesus at conference? Was it during praise & worship in the rallies, or in Mass? Was it during a prayer team or adoration? Or was it through something you heard in a workshop or a small group? These experiences can be truly transformational, but Jesus never wanted it to be a once off. This is the start of a new and exciting journey for you. On this journey, Jesus doesn’t stay in one place, like home base that you need to keep returning to for a spiritual top up. No, he is with you for every step every high and low, always ready to renew and refill you. ‘Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”’ Matt 28:20
2. Stay connected
If you want to keep growing in faith and continue to discover the great things God has planned for you, then don’t try to go it alone! We need one another to encourage us and build us up in faith. Alone we can be like a solitary candle, there is a light but we risk being snuffed out by the first breeze. Together, we are much stronger like a wildfire that will not be put out easily. Stay connected with the people you came to conference with, or if you came by yourself reconnect with the people you met there. Try to catch up and hang out. It doesn’t even have to be a ‘church thing’ when you do. Go see a movie, grab a coffee or catch a game together. Your faith will flourish in these friendships.
There are countless ways to pray and at conference we explored just a few of them. Prayer helps us draw closer to Jesus, the more time we spend with him, the more familiar we become. Like a friend whose voice you recognize when they pick up the phone. We start to see more and more how Jesus works in our lives and hear him more and more.
So, I’ll keep heading down the mountain, committed to sharing my experience of Jesus with everyone this side of the valley. And I’ll see you next year at Ignite Conference 2018!