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 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!”
When I moved from rural Kansas to Los Angeles many years ago, I was overwhelmed, lost, lonely. It was, I think, the Holy Spirit that led me to look up churches in that monster of a phone book. I went to the nearest United Methodist Church that Sunday, and the people were so welcoming and healing, that I went back on Monday and asked, “Do you have something I can do?” The education director looked at me, a bewildered stranger, and said, “Vacation Bible School is next week. I’m sure we have work you can do.” On Monday I was helping make sandwiches. On Tuesday I was leading the lunch prep. On Wednesday the director asked me to help a teacher with a class. By Friday I was teaching the class. I was no longer lost and lonely.
A few years later, I met a man named Jack, who was also lost, even though he and his family were attending the church I was working in. We had talked, and I was impressed with his biblical knowledge and his spirit. I asked him if he might try teaching an older elementary Sunday school class.
He hesitated, protested that he couldn’t do that, that he was not good enough. Finally, he said, “Most people don’t know this, but I’m an alcoholic. I’m not worthy to teach kids. I’ve considered joining AA, but I’m scared to try it.”
On some strange impulse, I said, “Do you drink on Sunday morning? Because I still need a Sunday School teacher.” Jack proved to be an excellent Sunday School teacher, and a month later he told me he had joined AA. “Thanks for believing in me,” he said. “It was the fresh start I needed.”
God heals in unexpected ways. An overworked church educator was my seraph. I was able to offer a cauterizing coal to Jack. I think God is calling all of us to be seraphs, so they, in turn, can say, “Send me.”
Concordia (Kansas) First United Methodist Church
Prayer for Reflection
Lord, help me see, really see, those around me who need God's touch, that I might be a channel for that touch. Amen
Editor's note: This devotional originally appeared on Feb. 10, 2019.
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