The prophet Isaiah lived in a very different world, nearly 3,000 years ago. And yet, as we turn our attention once again to a new year, his words—and his story—are, I think, as fresh and relevant today as they have ever been.
Isaiah lived in a time of political upheaval and uncertainty about the future. People had become very fearful about many aspects of life. The promises of the past—deliverance from slavery, a Promised Land, their own kingdom, all the blessings their God had promised and delivered—seemed distant memories; and the threat of an Assyrian army massed at their border seemed very alarming indeed.
While King Hezekiah advised everyone to stay centered in the certainty of their relationship to the divine, the leader of the Assyrian forces, shouting from outside the city walls, warned that many other once-confident cities had already fallen, and that their own God had obviously deserted them. It was a fear-based message that found many takers among the nervous Israelites.
We’re hearing similar voices today, don’t you think? Past blessings no longer serve; we’ve left all ourpromise and potential in the past; there’s nothing ahead but doom and gloom. And just as Hezekiah turned to the guidance of a voice for God, so must we today stay centered in our spiritual Truth. And the message today is the same as the message then: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord … that he may teach us his ways, and that we may walk in his paths.” The teachings of Jesus centuries later made it clear that ‘the mountain of the Lord’ can be found only in our own hearts. There we find the awareness we need to see the possibility for divine Good expressing in every challenge.
Today I choose to quiet the voices of fear within and around me, so that I can more easily stay centered in the Truth of infinite Good.