Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain. (Isaiah 40:4)
I have a friend I met in Chicago, although I am from Michigan and she is from Kansas. Michigan is a state where most of the landscape consists of rolling hills: it’s rare to find an especially flat area or where there are steep changes in elevation. A lot of glacial till. But Bev’s area of Kansas was very flat.
What I missed about Michigan in Chicago was the trees (and the sun setting, rather than rising, over Lake Michigan). Our trees give me a sheltering, comforted feeling when they are in full leaf, and I look forward to the new green every year.
What Bev missed was the wind, the particular kind of wind that blows unimpeded by buildings or hills or trees. Chicago is the Windy City, but its wind flows around sharp edges. And Michigan’s breezes rustle the trees, and that has its quiet delight. But Kansas’s wind, I take it, is another thing altogether. I can only think of Dorothy and the tornado, but Bev delighted in the steady, constant wind.
Isaiah wrote that the rough places would become a plain, and John the Baptist picked up that theme: the way would be easy to build a highway to God and from God. And nothing would impede our view: everyone who cares to look would the glory of God revealed; there would be no barriers. (The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.)
And the Spirit’s wind, too, is not hindered. We can stand and be surrounded, and perhaps even (like Dorothy) be swept up in its power and taken to places we did not expect.
May you stand in the Spirit’s steady, constant wind as we commemorate the imprisonment, torture and death of our Lord, and more importantly, his coming back from the dead in power over those forces which tried to keep him dead. May you behold his glory, full of grace and truth.