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Watch Isaiah, catching fire

by davesandel on July 9th, 2022

Saturday, July 9, 2022

            (click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Watch Isaiah, catching fire

I imagine Isaiah as a busy young man, caught up in the hard work of the temple, listening to his elders, following their instructions, wondering about everything. Who is God? Who am I? What is my purpose here? How will I find out the answers to these questions? But really, as he goes about his daily business, he has little time to ponder any of the possible answers.

And then the king died. Mourners filled the temple, incense filled the air, the king’s body lay in state covered with spices and stately robes. The king had spoken has last words and he was silent. Would God speak now? Or would God be silent too?

Isaiah had his doubts. He was no better than any of us at comprehending times longer than his own. Nothing like this had happened to Isaiah. His time was the only time there was. What will happen to me, he asks? Oh God, do not be silent.

I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the train of his garment filled the temple. Above him were six-winged angels. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

Oh, Lord, you are here!

The angels called to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory!” And in their song the doorposts and thresholds shook, and smoke filled the temple.

This is more than incense happening here. And my sin is before me. My sin casts me down into the pit.

Oh, woe is me! I am undone! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!

On the floor. I weep in shame. There is nothing I have to offer to my God; God, God, God, God. Even my tears seem unworthy, inappropriate. I try to sit up, and my muscles mostly fail me.

One of the seraphim flew to me, with a live coal in his hand, taken from the altar. With the coal he touched my mouth and said, “Look! Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt is removed and your sin has left you.

I fall back down onto the floor, facing the roof of the temple, stunned into silence. The most sensitive parts of my lips are burning. The angels’ singing fades away for me, although they sing as loudly as ever. There is something new about to happen.

In this moment, this instant, I am no longer afraid. And then God himself speaks into me. It feels like he speaks right into my heart. Like he’s been there all the time.

Whom I shall I send? And who will go for us?

Now I know I am entirely made new. My eyes clear and I stand straight. My voice rings out and echoes around the walls of the temple. Now even the angels are silent.

Here I am, Lord. Send me!

This is a new thing, and I am reborn. I turn and look out into the temple, ready for whatever happens next.

Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

(Isaiah 6, Psalm 93, 1 Peter 4, Matthew 10)

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