“We were as faint-hearted men thirsting in Sion, by reason of ungodly men to whom you delivered us. And the Lord of hosts shall make a feast for all the nations: on this mount they shall drink gladness, they shall drink wine: they shall anoint themselves with ointment in this mountain. Impart all these things to the nations; for this is God's counsel upon all the nations. Death has prevailed and swallowed men up; but again the Lord God has taken away every tear from every face. He has taken away the reproach of his people from all the earth: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. And in that day they shall say, behold our God in whom we have trusted, and he shall save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, and we have exulted, and will rejoice in our salvation. God will give rest on this mountain…” (Is 25: 5-10a, Septuagint-translation)
The events that Isaiah is prophesying about in this passage, read today at the service of the Sixth Hour, are the events we are presently experiencing in “real time,” during the season(s) of Lent and Pascha. Throughout Lent we are making our “ascent” onto “this mountain” that is communion with, and fulfilment in, the risen Lord. During Lent we are “as faint-hearted men thristing in Sion,” in the praying-and-fasting Church, awaiting the “feast for all the nations” that is the Lord’s triumph over our darkness and death, in His glorious Resurrection in the early morning of Pascha-Sunday. On that morning, when we’ll be singing, “Christ is risen from the dead…,” we will also be saying, as the prophet describes above, “Behold our God in whom we have trusted, and he shall save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, and we have exulted, and will rejoice in our salvation. God will give rest on this mountain…”
Lord, give me patience and humility today, as we continue our cross-carrying ascent up to Your feast of feasts. Today let me choose to move upwards and forwards, amidst and despite any faint-heartedness I may feel along the way. “But give to me, your servant, a spirit of whole-mindedness, humility, patience, and love.” Amen!