Thursday, March 28: Come, Let Us Walk in the Light of the Lord

Written by Drew Colby, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Manassas, VA

Trees with light coming through. A Voice in the Wilderness

Isaiah 2:1-5

“The word that 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 of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 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. 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. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

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Swords into plowshares. Guns into gardening tools. God that sounds nice.

But how?

It was a knock-down, drag-out fight. Not physically. Not like, abusive, just… marriage. He had been keeping something from her and she found out. It was a big deal.

She confronted him with her tears and her anger, bringing to light what he thought he had kept from her, tucked away in the shadows. When she brought it to light, he panicked and got defensive. He started to try to rationalize and justify himself by shining light on her shortcomings. That meant war. It was tit-for-tat, a rhetorical race to see who could cut the swiftest and the deepest. They said things they didn’t mean. They said other things that they meant whole-heartedly, but never should have said.

She walked out. He froze, head in hands, and he wept.

The prophet Isaiah is speaking to a people who had failed God. It was their fault. Part of the prophet’s task is always to drag what is done in the shadows into the light, to expose the failures of the so-called People of God to “walk in his paths, in the light of the Lord.”

Ah, sinful nation,
   people laden with iniquity,
offspring who do evil,
  children who deal corruptly,
who have forsaken the Lord,
   who have despised the Holy One of Israel,
   who are utterly estranged!

Why do you continue to rebel?
Your whole head is sick,
   and your whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
   there is no soundness in you,
but bruises and sores
  and bleeding wounds.

Isaiah 1:4-6

With sermons like that, it’s no wonder how many prophets got killed!

The husband went out to find his wife and apologize. He couldn’t find her. It was getting late, so he laid down in bed, curled up in their crimson bed sheets, wet with tears, and tried to sleep.

When she came back home she laid down next to him, reached over and turned on the light, but it was her touch that awoke him. She grabbed his arm and pulled him toward her. He turned to face her, but couldn’t look her in the eye. She lifted his head, insisting that he meet her gaze and see her tears.

“I forgive you,” she said. “We’ll figure this out.”

He melted into her arms. The light in the room seemed to get brighter.

Come now, let us argue it out,
   says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
   they shall become like wool.

Isaiah 1:18

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. 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.”

O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Isaiah 2:1-2, 5

In the midst of failure, Isaiah gives the people a promise, that they are even now headed toward a mountain, the mountain of the Lord! Yet, in the fullness of time and in this season of Lent what we find is that the “mountain of the Lord” is actually located at the foot of the cross.

The cross is at once the low point of human failure, and the mountain of our reconciliation. All that is done in the shadows is brought to light as the worst of human sin and failure is revealed. It flows, visibly, crimson, from the bruised and wounded body of Christ.

And yet, the “word that flows from Zion,” as Isaiah foretold, the arbitration and judgment that flows from the mouth of the Lord as he reigns from his cross-shaped throne is mercy, forgiveness. “I forgive you.”

This, I am convinced, is the only way anyone, any people, is moved to the point of beating swords into plowshares, and guns into gardening tools. This is the only way that the shadows of our life and world are filled with the light of the Lord.

So, come, let us walk. Let us walk in the shadow of the cross which is the Light of the Lord.

A Voice in the Wilderness: Lent 2024

Find all entries from A Voice in the Wilderness online here: haymarketchurch.org/lent24