Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord

(c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

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.

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