"2 In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3 Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.’"
In the fall of 2002, which feels both like a blink of eye and ages ago, I moved to New York City to attend The General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church. (Episcopalians are fond of the definite article. Can't you tell?) Anyway, soon after my arrival in the biggest of apples, I made the pilgrmidge to the Statue of Liberty. As I stood looking up at this icon of freedom, a mother and daughter stood behind me, and I overheard there conversation. It went something like this, "Do you see my daughter? That is the Statue of Liberty and it reminds us of the revolutionary war where we won our freedom." Now forget the fact that the statue was built long after the revolutionary war, the really interesting thing was that this woman and daughter were from India, or at least of Indian descent.
Now, in my less than brightest moment, I got really offended by what she was telling her child. I thought silently, "This isn't your country lady, and that war was not fought for your freedom. It was for mine!" I then I heard my thoughts. Oh, Lord please have mercy! How could I have such a racist thought, me then a soon to be seminary student. I realized in that moment that I still have a lot of confessing and repentance to do. Confession is when we admit our sins. Repentance is when we turn from them towards God and live differently. It takes both the actions of confession and repentance to grow in faith. Lord forgive me! Lord transform me!
Many people through the years have thought of the U.S.A. as that city on a hill foretold by both Isaiah and Jesus. It is a good goal, but we have a lot of work to do to reach it. The labor begins with guys like me being self aware, repenting, and taking action privately and publically to be better. Hopefully, someday it shall be as the prophet foretells,
4 He [God] shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
Lord forgive me! Lord transform me!
All scriptures quotes are from the NRSV found on bible.oremus.org