“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.”
I grew up in Northeast Iowa. It is not known for its towering mountain peaks. For some “outsiders” they don’t even give us credit for having hills…they see us rather as a flat square state situated in the Midwest somewhere. However, I would like to point out that as a child, teen, and young adult I did have experiences of climbing up our “flat ground.”
Since those early years I have had several opportunities to understand by experience what it is like to climb up bigger hills than the ones I tackled as a child and mountains that make those bigger hills seem flat. I now live in a state where mountains are a common site and the opportunity to hike them a frequent occurrence. I have learned that describing a mountain climb as a challenging climb has meant different things depending on my age, how agile my body is and the condition of the hiking path.
I think I have always heard this reading from Isaiah with a strong degree of optimism and hope. I have never taken the time to think about what the path and the climb up the Lord’s mountain might be like. I guess for this particular passage I thought about the path being more like the hill climbs I had as a kid in Iowa than the challenging hike I had up a mountain in Japan.
It struck me this time upon hearing the passage that I may be more ready to hear His instructions than I am prepared to climb the path up His mountain. I have been aware lately that the path seems to be full of people whom I normally would not hang out. They challenge my way of “doing God, of understanding scripture and how to interpret it.” This summer I encountered a boss who thought the company would be better with me somewhere else than there. I have found climbing the mountain path full of unexpected surprises. I have had to find new leg muscles, bigger room in my heart, eye site that was not guided by an eye for an eye.
Yet, there is nothing more that I want to do than to climb the mountain of the Lord that I may be instructed in God’s ways. As this Advent unfolds may I trust that I will be guided as surely in my travels as a pilgrim up the mountain path, as when I sit at the feet of the beloved for instruction. May I dare to breathe in the Light that will guide me and keep me awake for the day when the Kingdom is at hand.