December 3 / First Monday of Advent
In days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills.~ Isaiah 2:1
In this age of discord and incivility, we are in desperate need of a vision of hope. The prophet Isaiah — writing perhaps as early as the eighth century before the birth of Christ, in another era of uncertainty and division — does not disappoint. He draws a portrait of God’s house as a place of instruction and justice; a place of wisdom, raised above the hills, to which all the nations stream; a place of peace, in which weapons are transmuted into farming tools. And he reminds us that we are called to be better and to do better than our coarsened culture would have us be and do. Isaiah calls us to lift our eyes from their downward fixation on the mire and muck beneath our feet and to train them upwards, towards that shining city on the hill. He suggests that we not give in to our basest instincts but strive to attain the heights of kindness, civility and forbearance.
Winning the latest Twitter war or venting our spleen on FaceBook may provide a momentary rush of satisfaction, but social-media-fueled anger and posturing will not show us the way to God’s holy mountain — instead, they drag us down. Through his prophet, God calls us to him, urging us to make the twisting and laborious ascent to where he dwells in wisdom, holiness and love. This is the journey of a lifetime, and there is no better season in which to take it up than Advent. Do we have the courage to step out of the lowlands and climb upward in faith and trust to the mountain of the Lord’s house?
Lord of the hills and valleys, the mountains and the plains, accompany me as I make my way up the slopes of your holy mountain, and keep my eyes ever focused on you.Amen.