Tuesday of Epiphany 5 – Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13)

 1In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called to another and said:

    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

 4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

 8And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” 9And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

    “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 Make the heart of this people dull,
   and their ears heavy,
   and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
   and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
   and turn and be healed.”
11Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”And he said:”Until cities lie waste
   without inhabitant,
and houses without people,
   and the land is a desolate waste,
12and the LORD removes people far away,
   and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13 And though a tenth remain in it,
   it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak,
   whose stump remains
   when it is felled.”
The holy seed is its stump.

“I want to do this differently,” she said to me. She had glided through school, a good student, but never made any close friends. She expected that social thing just to happen. It did not. She had not put a lot of effort into it either, she realized. Now she was lonely. Now a new chance lay before her, a new opportunity, a new school, a new degree, a new group of people with whom she had little or no history. She wanted to do it differently.

Read the first part of this reading again. Do you see the change which took place in Isaiah? He starts off this text cowering in the corner, afraid for his life. He has seen the Lord and is sure that he will die as a result. But a few verses later Isaiah is running down the aisle, his hand up in the air, and he is shouting, “Send me! Send me!” From fearful wallflower to eager volunteer. What changed?

There are many folks in this world who will tell you that you, with their help, can effect change in your life. Some will help you lose weight, others will help you gain a skill, get a degree, and others might teach you to be a public speaker or succeed in sales. Remember Zig Ziglar? He made a lot of money offering to help his hearers be better salesmen and businessmen. What changes Isaiah? Spoiler alert: it wasn’t because he attended a Zig Ziglar seminar. An angel from God comes and touches his lips with a burning coal, forgiving his sins and declaring his sins atoned for. God declares something about the nature of Isaiah – he is forgiven. He is no longer under the guilt that terrified him. God has changed Isaiah. What would you do differently this time around? When you get a “do over,” start with God’s forgiveness for you and work from there.

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