A Stone of Hope
They shall feed along the ways, on all the bare heights shall be their pasture;
they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,
for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.
And I will turn all my mountains into a road, and my highways shall be raised up.
Lo, these shall come from far away, and lo, these from the north and from the west,
and these from the land of Syene.
Isaiah 49: 9-12
The transition from Epiphany, the season of abundant gifts and light, to Lent, a season of penitence and heaviness, has always been challenging for me. Light focuses our eyes and minds; darkness lacks direction and induces anxiety. With this in mind, Jesus began his forty-day journey in the desert in darkness and without destination.
My own pathway through Lent is focused through Isaiah, who foretells of God “turning mountains into roads.” I am reminded of a similar pathway when visiting the Martin Luther King Memorial, which was designed around a quote from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech: “…out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Visitors literally walk through a mountain of stone that has become a “road” toward the stone of hope that is King’s statue
The Martin Luther King Memorial is filled with many other quotes. One from his book of sermons Strength to Love, particularly connects to our pathway through Lent: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” From the words of Isaiah and Martin Luther King we are reminded how to focus in darkness, with love in our hearts being the ultimate destination.
Appointed readings for today: Isaiah 55:6-11, Psalm 34:15-22, Matthew 6:7-15