Good morning all!
Today’s scripture: ISAIAH 2:1-4
1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 In days to come
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3 Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
I actually really love making the drive from Albany, Oregon to my hometown of Lebanon, OR. The view is tremendous. There are lush green fields and really beautiful hills along the way. I always think the colors remind me of when I lived in Ireland with the brilliant green. There is a peacefulness to the drive in between those little towns. And just outside of Lebanon if I am driving to my grandparents house I get a glimpse of “Grandpa’s hill.” My grandparents own a piece of property at the base of one of these hills along the way and growing up we just called it “Grandpa’s hill.” My brothers and I spent some time on grandpa’s hill growing up. We loved that hill. We loved going with our grandpa to the hill. There were so many things we could be doing on Grandpa’s hill. When he pulled up with us in the car we would first see the old farmhouse. It was fun to see what you could find in the old farmhouse and what we could imagine that the house was like. At the base of the hill were fruit trees and sometimes sheep, depending on if grandpa would let our cousins put sheep on the land at that time. There was an old barn that, for me, was a bit scary because it was on the other side and rather dark and creepy. I don’t know how the boys felt about it.
Then there was the trail that went up the hill. This was my favorite part. The boys and grandpa and I would go for our hike. It probably is not even close to being a very long trail but it seemed like it was a journey. Along the way, there were seed balls from the tree that you must stomp if you see them to hear them pop. There was a creek that we always pretended to fish in and there was a clearing at the top. Depending on the season, we did different things here. During this time of year, we might go with grandpa to shoot mistletoe. Or perhaps we would be looking for horses. Or maybe we just wanted to hike to the property line marked by a different fence. Whatever the adventure, it was a fun space to be.
This space, I realize now, is what some call “a thin space.” These are the spaces where God and we meet. This space is hard to determine the boundaries between what is holy and what is not. Somehow, in these spaces, we can feel God a little easier. Many times this comes when we find ourselves in a holy space that feels sacred. This was the hill for me in many ways. My memories on the hill are of being pretty content, pretty happy, and realizing that God is somewhere on that hill in the green.
I think this is why Isaiah must call out to us to go to the mountain to be with God. In that region, the mountain would have been a little more hillish and would stand out in the landscape. To be up on the mountain is to be set a part and feel God’s presence with us. On that mountain we will learn the ways of God because we will be a little closer to God. And for Isaiah, by going up the mountain we also wash away the differences to all follow God. The mountain is unifying and creates peace. On that mountain, there will be grand adventures and it will definitely be a thin space where we can connect with one another.
My question to you today is, where is your hill or mountain where you might be able to find God today? In advent especially, you have a bit more excuse to go looking it seems. Where is that thin space that is full of God that you might be able to dwell a bit today? It doesn’t have to be a physical mountain but perhaps meeting with a particular person or recalling a thin space or even going to a place you know God is already present. Go there today to wait and pray for a bit.
Prayer: O God, you call us to the mountain to create peace, community, and to be in communion with you. Meet us in this time and place to be present with you in the thin spaces in our lives. Amen.