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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, May 25, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 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!” (NRSV)

This vision of Isaiah in God’s temple is the basis for the order of the Service for the Lord’s Day in the Presbyterian Church (USA). First comes an awareness of being in the presence of God, who is praised with adoration: “Holy, Holy, Holy!” This corresponds to our Call to Worship, Prayer of Praise, and Hymn of Praise. Then Isaiah, in the presence of the Holy Divine, becomes aware of his own sin and limitations: “Woe is me! I am lost.” This corresponds to our Prayer of Confession. Then, as a seraph touches Isaiah’s lips with a coal, his sins are declared forgiven: “Your guilt is departed,” which we affirm with the Declaration of Pardon. Then Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send?” which connects with our hearing God’s Living Word through scripture and the sermon, which interprets and applies it. Isaiah faithfully responds, “Here am I; send me!” which we also are proclaiming when we pray for our world and dedicate our lives for service and our money for God’s purposes through the offering. We are sent out into the world with a charge for how to live as witnesses to God’s love and with a benediction or blessing.

Isaiah’s vision of his encounter with God also provides a framework for our ongoing spiritual journey. Day in and day out we are called to reverence God, to confess our shortcomings, to be freed by forgiveness to live into the image of God in which we are created, and to make ourselves available to obey God’s word through service in the world.

Holy One, every day may I praise you, seek your forgiveness, hear your call, and give you my all. Thank you for a community of believers to support me. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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