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!”
Reflection “The whole earth is full of God’s glory” in spite of the shameful state of affairs erupting throughout the nation twenty-six hundred years ago and today. And, God needs someone to speak to the people and remind them that God is present and active no matter how terrible things appear. No doubt caught by a knot twisting in his belly, Isaiah pleads that he is not fit for the task of speaking on behalf of God, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips…” Whereupon a seraph, a Spirit of God,”holds a live coal that had been taken from the altar” to Isaiah’s lips, a ritual act to illustrate the inner cleansing of Isaiah’s heart and mind. Herewith Isaiah experiences God’s invitation, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” He responds, “Here am I; send me!” and proceeds through the course of his life to preach and counsel three different kings and die a martyr’s death.
Isaiah puts his faith in his experience of Divine Presence that invites his incarnate response inspired by the Spirit. Benevolent Father calls to faithful Son through the effectual action of the Spirit. God is made known in the relationships of the transcendent, incarnate and demonstrative.
Leaping forward six hundred years, might Jesus have heard rumors of the prophet John the Baptizer shouting in the wilderness? “People, listen up. Your world is in a shameful state. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. If you keep doing the same thing you can expect the same response. So repent, turn around, change your minds your hearts and the way you live. Now, as an outward and visible sign of your intention to do just that, come down to the river and I will baptize you with water.”
And did Jesus go to the river, saying “Here I am,” and allow John to immerse him in the cool river waters? Was it in that act of faithful acquiescence that Jesus consciously experienced the Spirit of God with him and came to claim his identity with God? Of course, this is all speculation, but when it comes to God what else can we do?
For me the Trinity is nothing if not the community of God. Putting our faith in the benevolence of Divine Presence, responding by imitating Jesus’ life and ministry, empowered by the effectual Holy Spirit, we live and breath and find the courage to say, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”
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