The Prophet’s words stand as stately and as monumental
as the summit of which he sings:
a craggy beacon to all nations;
a plateau-table for feasting on rich food and vintage wines;
the rocky anvil on which mutilating weapons
are beaten into the farmer’s harvest tools.
And then some strange words:
‘On this mountain he will destroy the veil which used to veil all peoples.’
What is hidden now that longs to be seen?
What knowledge lies always beyond our unstoppable ingenuity?
Surely we can see clearly already from up here?
The Prophet’s words burn back the hazy veil that mutes the Light
and we begin to see a dawn unlike that of our daily expectation.
This Dayspring from on high is a Light that is
love beyond our keenest desiring
hope beyond our sorest longing
truth beyond our wisest knowing
life beyond our fullest living
comfort that exceeds our direst hurting
peace that drops
into the most vigorous turbulence.
South Western View from Ben Lomond by John Knox (c1834) is in Glasgow City Council’s collection at the Kelvingrove Gallery. Isaiah’s words are chapter 2:1-5, for Advent 1, and 25:6-8 from today’s Eucharistic readings.