First Wednesday of Advent | Isaiah 2.1-5

+In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit+

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.”

It’s not that strange an idea: that one would see a word.

You see words in front of you all the time. I see them in front of me.

The prophet Isaiah saw a word, too; a word concerning Judah and Jerusalem –

Concerning their fate and their destiny, concerning their future.

You heard it just now.

So my question to you this first Wednesday of Advent is simple:

Did you see it?

Did you see the word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw, concerning Judah and Jerusalem?

What Isaiah sees is the mountain of the house of the LORD being declared the highest and greatest.

That may sound puzzling to us,

like Jerusalem’s fate is a matter of geography and terrain features.

But if you asked the nations of the world where their gods lived,

They’d say, upon the tops of the mountains. That’s where they reign.

Far away, far removed, powerful, but unconcerned.

What’s remarkable is that, if you ask so many Christians the same question,

“Where does you God live?”

The answer you get might not be so different:

“He lives in heaven, far away, far removed…with fluffy clouds and pearly gates,

Powerful to be sure, but…

I’m not so sure how worried He is about what is going on here.”

After all in the last week a school bus crashed in Tennessee and killed several children;

Forest fires have claimed the lives of some,

and the homes and livelihoods of many more;

A Brazilian soccer team’s plane crashed for no good reason,

leaving nearly everyone dead.

And a man whose god is indeed far away and unconcerned,

Took his anger and frustration out on his fellow students,

running them down in his car,

And then stabbing whoever couldn’t run away.

All that may sound extreme, even though it seems to be par for course in 2016.

But you all have seen your fair share of suffering this year, too.

Maybe it was a mountain of worries and cares that has distressed you; but maybe not.

Even a hill of this world’s anxieties can leave us feeling powerless, frustrated, and desperate.

As if our God, too, lives far away on some distant mountain;

Powerful but unconcerned.

Is that the word that Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem?

Is that mountain of the house of the LORD home to a God who cares?

If the nations would go there, if we would go there, is it a place we would want to stay?

None of us would look at this world and see what Isaiah saw by the Holy Spirit.

And thanks be to God, none of us have to.

The house of the LORD, Jesus the Christ, whose coming we yearn for tonight,

Has been lifted above the hills,

high upon the cross.

Atop Golgotha, outside Jerusalem,

the mountain of the house of the LORD has indeed been established;

A new kingdom has been ushered in;

And all the nations shall flow to it, to Him –

To this Jesus, born of Mary, crucified, risen, and ascended for you.

The King of all creation rules His Church, but He is not far off.

He is indeed near enough to touch.

Calling, gathering, enlightening –

By His Holy Spirit, through His Church:

The Word Isaiah foresaw in a manger

The Word Isaiah foresaw on a cross,

The Word Isaiah yearned for,

The Word you heard, which you have seen, which you have known;

The Word which washed over you in your Baptism,

The Word spoken into bread and wine here ever week,

That Word, Jesus, goes forth with you every week.

That the nations would hear Him, because you are speaking;

That the nations would see Him, because you are doing.

That the nations would know Love, because you are loving.

That they might have a home in His Eden, His new Jerusalem.

Where disputes are settled, and war is no more.

Where spears are turned into pruning hooks,

Not to be hung up in a barn, but to gather a harvest for a feast that goes on and on.

Where the hills of doubt and despair are flattened,

And we walk freely and joyfully in His paths.

Not in darkness, but in the light of the LORD.



About Pastor Hopkins

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