Monday, November 28, 2011

"The will of God — nothing less, nothing more, nothing else."

I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same. - C.S. Lewis

(Isaiah 2:1-5)
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 he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths."
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He 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!

“Let us climb the Lord’s mountain” is what we strive to do each and every day of our lives. At the beginning of every day we make a choice to climb God’s mountain. Some days the mountain is Pike’s Peak while other days the mountain is more like a gently rolling slope.

The house of the Lord will be on the top of the mountain and all will stream toward it, from all directions, each on their own path. Who is in this human stream seeking the Lord? The rich, the poor, the strong, the weak, the sick and lame, the morally upright and the morally corrupt, the victims and the perpetrators – in short, all of us, all 7 billion of us now wandering around on this planet.

Are we close to changing swords into plowshares? Well, there was a recent report that we live in one of the least violent times of human history. How can that be? I think it was based on the number of people in conflicts as a percentage of the total population, so the growth in numbers actually has made all of us a little safer. We still train for war, and still spend a lot of our resources on it (especially the US). But we also have increased agricultural yields to un-dreamed of levels, we have eradicated many diseases, we have provided educational and cultural and societal opportunities around the world that could not have been anticipated a century ago.

So where is the Lord’s house? Is it on top of a mountain, or is it in each of us as we strive to move forward on the path that calls us to the Lord? Don’t we really build the house of the Lord one small act at a time by our reverence for each person, by our willingness to stop and help, by our civility, by our recognition that the Lord is in each of us, and therefore we all are in the house of the Lord in our every moment? And don’t we chip away at the house of the Lord when our anger, our frustration, our selfishness, our greed, causes us to think only of ourselves and not of the other 7 billion pilgrims on their path to the house of the Lord?

And so my prayer today is for the grace to recognize the needs of our fellow pilgrims and act toward them in a way that adds a small piece to the house of the Lord as we journey together.

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