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! (Isaiah 2: 1-5)
Day 1 in our Advent journey together. What a great place to begin. Many scholars believe this to be the original beginning of Isaiah–Chapter One is therefore a later submission–a prequel. I think of the whole of Isaiah as three books: 1. Warnings; 2. Exile; 3. Restoration. In our opening today, the people trusted in themselves. God is distant. But for God, we are held close. God is judge is righteous. My favorite definition for righteousness in most of Scripture is ‘restorative justice.’ Justice is not about casting out, or for the sake of retribution. But our righteous God cares about relationships. God cares about us.
God cares enough that the highest points are not our own successes, but it is our connectedness to God and one another. God’s purpose is for all nations to follow in this path; “…all nations shall stream to it.” God’s judgment shall arbitrate for many.
What is restorative justice, and this high place? It is a place where we beat our swords into plowshares. It is a place of hope. A place where instead of stand-your-ground laws, we get our hands dirty caring for one another. Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. Amen