Beloved community, we have traveled a rocky Lenten road and now stand on the “Hallelujah!” horizon, trusting in the proclamation of the psalmist who speaks of God’s presence on our journey to higher ground: “For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God? … [God] made my feet like the feet of a deer, and set me secure on the heights” (Psalm 18:31, 33).
The psalmist references how a deer’s hooves are designed to climb to places impossible for other animals to reach. Its feet are fashioned for higher heights.
Likewise, we are designed to move to higher ground, sheltered by God’s steady presence. The Spirit leads us and guides us, granting vision and divine imagination so we can continue the journey even if we are unsure of our next steps. Fortunately, as we journey, our perspectives sharpen and we gain clarity and recognize the hidden hand of God all around us.
Many years ago, at a family Easter-egg hunt, I was paired with my toddler nephew, Chrystopher. With me as his trusted aunt and guide, we embarked hand in hand on our search. I quickly spotted Easter treasure. There, near the trunk of an oak tree, rested a brightly colored Easter egg. But he couldn’t see it.
I pointed to it, nearly touching the egg with the tip of my index finger. Still, the egg escaped his gaze. Perhaps he was too excited to see what was right in front of him, still on a sugar high from all the chocolate candy he had eaten earlier. Or maybe he was distracted by Granddad dressed up as the Easter Bunny.
I quickly spotted Easter treasure. There, near the trunk of an oak tree, rested a brightly colored Easter egg. But my nephew couldn’t see it.
I finally placed his chubby little hand directly on top of the egg. He was so surprised that he let out the cutest squeal, grabbed the jewel-toned egg and placed it in his empty Easter basket. I noticed after this first discovery that the next few eggs became easier for him to spot.
The psalmist reminds us that God has promised to equip us on our journey to higher ground. Sharpening our perspective for this climb means paying attention so we don’t miss small treasures hidden in plain sight. How often do we overlook the everyday miracles in our lives? How often does the Spirit need to take us by the hand and point out God’s activity among humanity and creation?
Just as the deer spends its days paying close attention as it scales heights and moves through the terrain, we are called to look for the ways we can usher in the reign of Christ in our daily lives.
All of this brings to mind the classic song “Higher Ground” from the modern-day prophet Stevie Wonder. He encourages us to keep on with our daily activities, assured that God will lead us to higher ground:
Teachers keep on teachin’
Preachers keep on preachin’
World keep on turnin’
Cause it won’t be too long
Lovers keep on lovin’
Believers keep on believin’
Sleepers just stop sleepin’
Cause it won’t be too long.
I’m so glad that [God] let me try it again
Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach my highest ground.
Our God invites ordinary people to usher in the reign of Christ. We were reborn for this in the baptismal waters. It’s part of our spiritual DNA. Siblings in the faith, in this Easter season may we all courageously move higher and higher, finding sure footing and seeing the everyday miracles around us as we embrace the warmth of our Easter morning off in the distance.
God has set us secure in the heights. We can join our voices with that of the psalmist who wrote: “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; for you are my refuge, a strong tower” (Psalm 61:2-3).