Let Us Go to the Mountain of the Lord

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.    

(Isaiah 2:1-4)

Although the theme of my sabbatical is "River Crossings, while in Switzerland we took an excursion to the top of Mount Stanserhorn, near Lucerne. From there we could see the Alps in their full glory. Pictured above is Mount Titlis (10, 623 feet). It wasn't the tallest of the peaks we could see, but it does stand out. 

I've lived in the mountains. As a child, I lived at the base of Mount Shasta. I've climbed Mt. McLoughlin and Diamond Peak (all in the Cascades). I'm drawn to the mountains, and so when we had the opportunity to go to the mountains by way of a Funicular and then Cabrio Cable Car, how could I pass it up?

The word from Isaiah speaks of going to the mountain of the Lord so that the Lord (YHWH) might teach us the ways of God so that we might walk in God's paths. The word we hear speaks of judgment on the nations and the call to beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. We've not reached that point in history, but the mountains call out to us, inviting us to attend to the ways of God. 

While on the mountain, I read a word concerning Mount Titlis. It is covered by a glacier, but like most glaciers, it is receding. By the end of this century, it will likely disappear, along with the other glaciers in the Alps. If that happens the sight that I experienced of snow-capped mountains will no longer exist. The rivers that are fed from these mountains might lose their source. Already, the Rhine has experienced moments of dryness so that travel on the river has come to a stop. 

The mountains call us to heed the ways of God. I wonder, could the receding glaciers be themselves a word from God concerning the effects of climate change? If so, how might we respond?

We returned from the mountain to the valley, to the lake of Lucerne, which feeds the Reuss River, which eventually finds its way to the Rhine, and from the Rhine to the North Sea. From the mountains to the sea, and all that is in between invites us to be in the presence of the Creator who has blessed us with all that exists in nature. 


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