I haven’t done much mountain climbing. I did climb to the top of Mount Waldo in Maine several times. It’s only a little over a thousand feet, so that’s not real impressive. Still it’s high enough to provide a view. Adventurous people hang-glide from Waldo. I find its better to walk down. I took a train to the top of Mount Washington and a bus to the top of the Mount of Olives where Jesus began his Palm Sunday parade into Jerusalem. I’ve always found that high places influence the way I see the world.
Isaiah speaks of a day when people from all over the world will climb the Mountain of the Lord. That uphill climb will alter their perceptions. I don’t think this means that everyone will become a Christian. God’s plan for humanity involves the nations learning how to live with compassion and respect for each other. In today’s fragile world of warring parties, the Mountain of the Lord represents a sacred place where peace is worked on. A safe space or sanctuary, where weapons are laid down and people are taught how to listen to each other. In the midst of today’s climate crisis, the Mountain of the Lord represents a new vision of shared stewardship and ecological sanity. In a time of systemic mistrust, the Mountain of the Lord represents hope.
I don’t know how to get others to the mountain. I only know that it is where I need to be. “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!” (Isaiah 2:5). We climb the mountain together. We pray for others to join us.
I take the famous line, “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,” to be about a heaven on earth. Not a kingdom at the end of time, but an outpouring of God’s peace in our current world. For why would we need pruning hooks in heaven? The conversion of weapons into a farm implements is something we work to do here and now. It’s called peacemaking.