Today's Lectionary Text
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 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!”
Our scripture reading today is described by Biblical scholars as a “theophany” – that is a “God” (theos) “appearance” (phany). It’s a story describing the prophet Isaiah’s experience of the presence of God in an awesome and mysterious way.
Read the passage again and close your eyes and imagine it. Note the passage begins by describing this “God appearance” happened in a specific time and place: “In the year that King Uzziah died ... I saw the Lord high and lifted up.”
And isn’t it that way with us. For in truth God appears to us in many specific times and places in our lives. And often like Isaiah these times are awesome, beyond explanation and just plain mysterious. John Wesley spoke of a specific time and place when his “heart was strangely warmed.” Thomas Aquinas said, “I have seen things that make all my writings seem like straw.” Robert Frost wrote “poems, like religion, start with a lump in the throat.” More and more in my life I’ve been drawn to pay attention to mystery and mystical moments in my life and our corporate life as a church. You know, we sometimes call them “a God moment” or a “God thing,” or a “Divine Coincidence” or an experience “beyond words.” Whatever we call them, I am encouraged to talk about them and invite you to do so too. After all, our United Methodist Quadrilateral states a building block of our faith and belief is founded on our experience.
So in the year when the United Methodist Church is in crisis and crossroads, what would happen if each of us talked more about our God moments and those times the glory of the Lord appears to us? What if we United Methodists could become more mystical, honoring and talking to others about those moments of mystery when we experience the divine in a way that is larger than explanation, larger than us? What would happen to you, to me, to us?
-Rev. Rick Saylor,
Retired, Kansas City
Clergy and Congregational Coach
Prayer for Reflection
By what name shall I call you in my prayer, O God? I am grateful that you are a Living God that appears to us in our lives and our world. Thank you for past experiences when I have known your presence. Help me today, this week, to pay attention to what You are doing and where you are at in my daily living. So be it?!
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