Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
We cannot remain the same when we get a glimpse of the greatness and holiness of the Lord. Isaiah saw a vision of the Lord when he was in the temple and he experienced a deep conviction for his sin. He cries out, “Woe is me!” Not only did he experience personal conviction of his sin, he vicariously experienced the weight of his own people’s corporate sin that in many ways shut God out, with disastrous results.
Isaiah was a product of and participant in a social context described by spiritual lostness, futile worship practices, corrupt leadership, greed, injustice, and political crisis. Knowledge of his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of his own community created a crisis in him because he knows that he can never be the same after his vision of the greatness, the glory, and holiness of the Lord. He could either betray his vision and conviction, ignore God, and just keep on going along to get along in a world where brokenness was normalized. Or, he would have to live the rest of his life speaking up for a new normal of God’s reign, even if his speaking up meant rejection from family, friends, and society.
Isaiah chooses to offer his whole self for the mission to go to a moribund people with spiritually calloused hearts, dull ears, and closed eyes. He says, “Here I am. Send me!” In so doing, he reorders, realigns, and refocuses his life upon God and God’s mission for the world. God forgives Isaiah and sends him back into the world because God loves the world and seeks to save it (John 3:16-17). God turns Isaiah outward beyond himself, toward unity with God’s vision for the world and the world that God loves. Isaiah accepts and pursues the mission given to him by the Lord to proclaim an unpopular message of repentance, reconciliation, restoration, refreshing, and revival. Most of the people in his community would reject Isaiah’s ministry and message of God’s new normal. Some would eventually listen. Isaiah was faithful to his mission, the outcomes were left to God.
Like God sent Isaiah to a broken people, God sent his only son Jesus Christ to a broken world so that whosoever believes in him may not perish but have eternal life (Jn. 3:16-17). Christ sent the Holy Spirit to enable us to live as children of God and agents of hope in the Reign of God amid a broken world (Rom. 8:12-17).
Let us expectantly seek a new vision of the greatness, glory, and holiness of the Lord in the months to come as we practice our daily disciplines of worship, study, prayer, and meditation. A new vision will empower us to offer ourselves more fully as Christ’s agents of faith, hope, and love into and for the sake of a world that has normalized its brokenness.
The Covenant Prayer by John Wesley:
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.