Isaiah 6:1-8 (NRSV)
Chapter 6In 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. Verse 2Seraphs 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. Verse 3And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." Verse 4The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.
Verse 5And 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!" Verse 6Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. Verse 7The 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." Verse 8Then 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!"
In this dramatic and awe-inspiring vision in the temple, the prophet Isaiah senses that he has violated a taboo by presuming to speak with unclean lips. “Woe is me”, he says, “I am lost.” He believes that he is unworthy to stand in the presence of the holy, but in a vision a seraph comes and touches his mouth with a live coal telling him that now his guilt has departed and his sin is blotted out. How often do we too feel as if we have said something or done something which is disappointing to God and feel we are separated from God’s love. But God comes with surprising mercy and grace to welcome into God’s presence once again and commissions us to like Isaiah to be emissaries of God’s love. Through Jesus Christ, we have come to know God’s unconditional forgiveness, blotting out our sin so that we may know and live in boundless hope.
God of Love, you sent your Son so that we might let go of our guilt and live with hope into a new future. Grant that we may embrace that hope and your promises of unconditional love. Amen.