First Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 2: 1-5: An advent reflection from the Cathedral of St. George in Jerusalem
Whenever mountaintops are mentioned in the Bible, we do well to pay attention. The high places were often associated with important events, revelations, and visions from God’s very hand. Moses at Mt. Sinai, Jesus in prayer on various mountains and the Transfiguration all come to mind. In this passage the holy mountain of Jerusalem, referred to as Zion, is brought into sharp focus as God’s dwelling place from which all the nations are invited to come and learn to walk in the light of the way of the Lord.
This vision is inspiring to all who work, pray, and hope for peace, both here in Jerusalem and throughout the world. The power of all people coming in humility to learn of God’s way of life to turn away from division, violence and war towards God’s way of light provides a vision of hope for the future of all creation.
However, the historical record since Isaiah’s vision suggests that war has indeed been learned and learned too well over many centuries. Blood has run through the streets of Jerusalem in times past and politically inspired violence continues in many of her neighborhoods even now. Despite Isaiah’s vision; despite the tears Jesus shed as he overlooked the Holy City; despite centuries of prayers in the holy places by faithful people, Jerusalem has yet to experience the peace which Isaiah envisions.
Is the mountaintop too high to ascend? Is it possible to ask people to set aside old agendas? Is it possible that religious and political leaders can walk together in the light of the Lord? Is it possible for old enemies to no longer learn war anymore?
Christians in the Land of the Holy One continue to believe, with all evidence to the contrary, that all things are possible for those who love the Lord because if peace is possible here in Jerusalem, peace is possible for everyone.
Article features in Churches for Middle East Peace: www.cmep.org and was also found in the Diocese of Jerusalem's November Newsletter.