Isaiah encounters the One True Living God. I imagine it would be like standing in the middle of a holy circus: spectacular, blindingly colorful and bright. Yet the presence of God is so thick the light is coming through a milky veil of smoke and incense.
Next comes the magnificent creatures. God is surrounded by Seraphs: powerful, awe-full creatures. The highest order of angelic beings, associated with light, passion, and purity.
The creatures are praising God, calling out who God is. (That’s what praise is) Holy, Holy, Holy… Lord of the Hosts Heaven… the Earth full of God’s glory. The power and glory of God are over both heaven and earth.
The call is so loud, everything is shaking. The call is so loud you feel it in your chest, it rattles your teeth and your bones.
How could Isaiah think, breathe, let alone speak?
Isaiah can’t help himself. He is undone. He is fully self-aware. He knows he’s not worthy of being in God’s holy presence. None of us are.
Verse 5: 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!”
- Can Isaiah cleanse himself? – No!
- Forgive himself? – No!
- Save himself? – No!
- Can any of us? – No!
God knows this and acts
Verse 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 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.”
Notice God takes care of both the guilt and the sin. But look at what it takes! For Isaiah to be forgiven it takes a terrifying angel holding an equally terrifying coal coming straight for Isaiah’s mouth. Thank God for Jesus that we don’t have to go through that!
We could stop the story right here.
Isaiah’s story is mystical and dramatic and unique, yet, we can still connect with it. It’s a classic salvation story.
- Our eyes are opened to the presence of God, to the beauty and power and love of God
- We are undone
- We realize we cannot save ourselves. We are separated from God by sin and everything we try to bridge the gap falls short. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- We speak the truth. We confess who we are and our deep need. God comes with mercy, healing, forgiveness in Jesus. We are saved. If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead you will be saved.
Lord Jesus, thank you for seeking me and welcoming me. Thank you for your life, death, and resurrection. I place my trust in you as the leader and forgiver of my life. Forgive me, cleanse me, save me.
We can stop the story right there, and far too many of us do. Undone and done.
This isn’t the end of the story. God doesn’t just come with mercy, healing, forgiveness, and salvation. God comes with coal.
With that fiery coal comes…
- tongues of fire dancing on our heads, like Pentecost. We are filled with the Holy Spirit in order to share who God is and how God saves.
- a fire in the belly to join God in saving the world. A new life with new meaning, a new purpose, and new priorities
- a fire in our hearts, a longing for the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven
- a call to action
Verse 8 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!”
After Isaiah is saved God calls. God doesn’t look at Isaiah or mention his name. God sends out a call across the heavens and it’s available for anyone to respond.
Isaiah makes the courageous decision to draw God’s attention again, “Here am I; send me!” It’s an immediate response- no apathy, no excuses. “Here am I; send me!”
Singing: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine… Wait! I’m not holy enough. I’m not trained enough. Go anyway- God provides the forgiveness and you will learn as you go.
Singing: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine... Wait! I’m not brave enough. I’m not strong enough. Go anyway- You don’t have to do this in your own strength God fills you with the power of the Holy Spirit. And you don’t have to do it alone. God sends companions to go with you.
Singing: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine... Wait! What if I fail? You’ve already failed if you don’t try. God’s just asking you to try.
Singing: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine… Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
God sends out a call across the heavens and it is available for anyone to respond. Respond, “Here am I, send me.”
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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