Year B – Trinity Sunday – Isaiah 6:1-8

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. 2 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. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 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!” 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.” 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!”    (NRSV)

Summary:  Though we are always in the presence of God, we never get such a direct peek at the Almighty as Isaiah describes here.  He witnesses a vision of God’s holiness; one that we can only try to image; finding himself standing inside the throne room of the Lord (possibility while he was at the earthly temple).  Frightened and in awe, Isaiah cannot help but recognize his own impurity and imperfection before the pure the perfect King of the Universe.  Specifically, the prophet mentions the unclean lips of himself, and of his people (v5).

Insight:  It makes sense that the purity of a prophet’s words would be an important aspect to his ministry; but of all the sins that humanity has and can do, Isaiah speaks of his guilty for the things he and his people have said.  We can speak some awful and wicked things to one another.  Often times, we don’t even realize how much words can hurt.  We speak flippantly, without thinking and in ignorance; yet like everything else about our lives, our speech should also reflect the holiness and goodness of God.  We need to be speaking in truth and in love.  This means our mouths need restrain and discipline just as much as the rest of our mind and body.  And now, since Christ has purified his people, we may join that angelic chord which sings:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Child Catechism:  In the presence of God, what did Isaiah recognize was wrong with him and his people?   That they had misspoken, and were a people of unclean lips.

Discussion:  What did Jesus say about careless words?   (Matt. 12:36-37)

Father, cleanse our hearts and minds with your Spirit, so that what we say and do would be true and pure, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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Year B – Easter 3 – Psalm 4

Psalm 4: Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer. 2 How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah 3 But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;  the Lord hears when I call to him. 4 When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent.  Selah  5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. 6 There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”  7  You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound. 8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

Summary:  We say a great deal of many things.  But sometimes in our prayer lives, the words just won’t come.  What stops you from praying?  Here David speaks confidently.  He speaks as if God will hear him.  Prayer is an action done in trust.  But sometimes we still need to question, and sometimes we need to be silent.  David mentions times for them both.  In this psalm, he seems to be questioning the actions and attitudes of fallen humanity (vv2,6) rather than God directly (cf. Ps 6:3, 10:1).  And David had a great deal to question in his life, and he had plenty of reasons to be frustrated, but his trust in God remained.

Insight:  Even when we are angry, we can remain faithful.  There is a difference between righteous outcries and vain venting:  think how often we take out our frustrations upon innocent and unwitting third-parties.  We love vain words.  When life gets difficult, or when we are being that difficult party, David suggestions is that we get quiet (v4).  And during this moment of silence, we can then think about what we have said and will say… to God, as well as, to our fellow man.  We always have cause to lift up our hearts; we needn’t wait until everything goes wrong, or until everything is going just right.  Certainly, as we ponder this Easter Season, consider the full implications of Christ’s resurrection and ascension:  Prayer is just one of our great privileges and responsibilities.  It is an amazing and confident conversation done between the Creator of the Universe and His creatures who are now at peace with one another (v8).

Discussion:  What is getting in the way of your conversations with God?   How do we sincerely pray for those who hates us or have different views than us?  (cf. Romans 12:14-21, Lk 23:34).

Thank you Father for the opportunities given to us,

Through sin and struggles, grant us the right words and hear our prayers

May our words glorify You, And May our words bring peace and gladness to others

In harmony with your Spirit’s leading and in Christ’s Name,

Forever.  Amen.

Contributed by:  M. West