Posts tagged ‘isaiah’
What an auspicious theme as we begin the Season of Advent: Reflection! And what better place to reflect than in the desert? The photo above was taken while I was driving with another sister from Minnesota to California. It is from the part of the journey through the Salt Flats of Utah. A more desolate and eery landscape you could not find! And yet there is such beauty in the midst of it.
Next Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent, we will be reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord!”
May we, when we are on our desert journeys take the time to reflect and find the beauty around us and within us. Then, surely, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Today’s reading in the 3rd Thursday of Advent is from Isaiah 54
So God has sworn not to be angry with you,
or to rebuke you.
Though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be shaken,
My love shall never leave you
nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
says our God, who has mercy on you.
We can believe that the mountains can’t be moved, but we have difficulty believing that God’s love would never leave us.
Let our Advent task be to find our hope in the love of God toward us, stronger and more faithful than anything we know.
Sister Joanne Cullimore’s watercolor of Mt. Whitney, named Whitney Portal, speaks to our hearts as Isaiah does in today’s reading for the Second Wednesday of Advent. Waiting on God brings us strength . . . the strength of these granite mountains, created by our God.
From Isaiah 40
To whom can you liken me as an equal? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things. . .
. . .Do you not know or have you not heard? The Lord is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth.
God does not faint nor grow weary, and God’s knowledge is beyond scrutiny. . .
God gives strength to the fainting; and for the weak makes vigor abound.
Though the young faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord, to wait.
In the summer of 2003, Sister Abby Newton and I went on a trek with a friend (that I just saw recently), Carolyn Mucelli. Because of timing and other issues, we never made it quite to the tippity-top of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the 48 contiguous states. But we did hike the 99 switchbacks that took us to the crest of the Sierras, named Trail Crest, at 13,777 feet above sea level. The picture below shoes Abby and myself at Trail Camp with Mt. Whitney behind us.
I love these Advent readings that we find this First Week of Advent. Today’s reading from Isaiah reminds me that there is something within us that creates a desire to climb the heights – to stretch ourselves. In our imagination, we put God at the top of the mountain, and then try to reach that summit where God lives. We forget, too often, that God lives within . . . within me and within you.
It is great to get into the outdoors . . . into nature . . . and to hike within the beauty of creation. Our spirits soar. But to find God, the only mountains I need to climb are within myself. And, believe me, the switchbacks wind round and round! My prayer and hope this Advent is that we will find the courage and fortitude to continue on the journey of climbing the heights to find our God . . . who lives within. We may finally find ourselves there as well.
And may we be kind to our companions on the journey. We never when they may find themselves in a difficult pass.
This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come,
The mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
That God may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in God’s paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
God shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!