Prayer for August 2022 from our National Spiritual Advisor (The Rev. Jane Lamont)
Reflection from our Diocesan Spiritual Advisor (The Rev. Lee Weissel), August 2022
DSD reflection for August 2022
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.
Running into God.
I love this section of Isaiah as it has all the makings of a rags to riches story. We are familiar with the role of the prophet in the temple of God, and in this story we see that king Uzziah has died, so dutiful Isaiah goes to the temple to offer prayers. He does so in a right and proper manner, but in the process runs into the living God of Israel.
King Uzziah was generally a good king. He brought peace and prosperity in his reign, but we know this led the people to forget about God. One of the criticisms Isaiah levels at the people of Israel is that many have multiple homes when so many among them are homeless. His preaching brings out their inconsistencies of saying that they believe, but their actions say otherwise.
But in this interaction, Isaiah seems to be in the same boat – doing the religious thing, but not expecting its object to appear. And when God appears it is mighty indeed. The author uses the words Holy, Holy, Holy (a three placement of the same word). This is significant in the Hebrew language which often uses a word doubled to emphasis it. For example, to describe or emphasis a large pit, the word pit would be repeated. We would get the translation as pit pit, and know the author is telling us it is a big pit. Here though is the only word triplet, thus emphasizing something incredibly important, and that is the Holy Nature of God. When this perfection is seen, Isaiah can immediately see his own unworthiness to be in the presence of God and cowers.
His own statement speaks volumes when he declares he is a man of unclean lips. As a prophet, his reputation and livelihood are based around his speaking ability. In running into God, he realises his own shortcomings and sinfulness. What he had worked hard at, developed and prided himself on, he now, in the presence of God, counts as rags and unclean. Anticipating his demise, one of the seraphim flies from the altar and touches it to Isaiah’s lips. This action created by God changes Isaiah. It deals with the deep chasm between Isaiah and God cause by Isaiah’s sin. It is atonement.
Isaiah’s response is immediate. He is made new. His rags of his own efforts are transformed by the riches of God’s grace. When God calls about whom he should send to a thankless and faithless community, the transformation of Isaiah causes him to sing out – Send me!
Is this not the story of Cursillo? How in our various religious communities we do go about the right and proper function of prayer and worship – and we desire in our heart to meet the living presence of God. On Cursillo weekends, do we not hear of people experiencing profound encounters, encounters that cause us to re-evaluate the direction we might be travelling in, or have our vision expanded of the glory of God and the purpose of the church in our region? And when God says ‘Who shall I send?” How many respond ‘Here I am, send me!’?
For us as Cursillistas we carry these encounters with us every day – whether the turning upside down reality of Isaiah, or the still, small voice in Elijah – as the power of the Holy Spirit moves through us testifying to the risen Christ, our single desire is that all should know the Lord as well. As we work in our parishes and ministry units, may you continue to live out your calling.