This is Trinity Sunday. The day of Pentecost was last week. On The Day of Pentecost we celebrate the birthday of the church. The Disciples of Christ in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago were our Christian ancestors. And the Spirit of God represented in our reading in Isaiah, by the Seraphim, the 6 winged angelic creatures, flew to them, touched their lips and said: “You are cleansed”
“You are born again; cleansed by the transforming fire of the Holy Spirit of God. Your mistakes and misgivings and faults are forgiven and overlooked. You’re perfect in my book. You don’t do every thing right, but that’s not the kind of perfection we are talking about here”. We are talking about a transformed innocence before the holiness of God, a perfected “shalom”
We’re talking about God being in the house. He has breathed life and power into the church through the fire of the Spirit and has called us out to do the work of the ministry. It’s a powerful thing to be touched by the fire of the Lord and to be called by God with these words: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for me.” And, then we can answer. “Here I am O Lord send me”. It will be a transforming work in your life and a testimony to the lives of those you are sent to minister to and work alongside of.
Colossians 3:23 says his: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all you’re might”. That’s what God is asking you to do. “Here I am O lord. Send me.” No work is too meager. No work is beneath me, and no work is too small or too large for me. Yes, I have faith and I will take the message (the good news) to the ends of the earth. Jesus Christ has redeemed you, touched your mouth with a live coal from the altar and commissioned you to go into the entire world and preach the gospel. At least to do your piece of that great commission; not the whole thing”.
“In the year that King Uzziah died Isaiah had a vision. “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lofty”. That term high and lofty means that the Lord was grand and stood out—beyond all the kings of the land that Isaiah had known. These were earthly kingdoms, but what he saw was a heavenly realm surpassing all other kingdoms. (Isaiah 6:1)
It was over and above all other kingdoms, ruling powers and authorities on the earth. And it says the hem of his robe filled the temple. In other words, the robe of his dominion and presence filled the entire house. And just as it was then, is now and will be to come,” Our Lord is in this house and fills this church with the robe of his presence, and the Lord is in this house today.”
In Isaiah’s vision, the angels were in attendance above him. These were a special type of angels. It says they had six wings. We always envision an angel with two wings. Well, these angels had six wings. With two they covered their face and with two they covered their feet and with two they flew. They were ‘flewsy’ angels, so therefore they flew.
The angels covered their face out of respect for the holiness of God, because they are in the presence of purity and holiness. They are covering their feet because it represents their nakedness before God. Just as Jesus said to Peter: Peter I am going to wash your feet. Peer thought that was unthinkable that Jesus would wash his feet; part of his nakedness that would be exposed to Jesus.
The angels with a sign of humility covered their face and their feet. And, with two wings they flew, and they called out to one another with these words: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory”.
And Isaiah says in his vision that the structure of the foundations shook, and the house was full of smoke, and I don’t think that was because people were in the pews of the church smoking Marlboros, unfiltered Camels, Salem lights or Macanudo cigars. No, I think it’s because the house was filled with the smoke… that is symbolic of God’s presence just as when we burn incense in our liturgy services it is symbolic of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
As Robin would say: Holy Smoke Batman!—well this was truly holy smoke. So we are talking about Holy Smoke, a symbol here of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah continues with these words: “Woe is me for I am lost, and I live among a people of unclean lips. And just as the angels, I want to cover my face and my feet. Then one of these six winged angels flew to me, holding a live coal with a pair of tongs, touched my mouth and made me clean”. This is a different kind of burning, a burning and cleansing. A cleansing of the Spirit that burns up the dross that is within (Burns away the rough edges, uncleanness; the excess baggage of our life; a transforming process) that’s what Isaiah is referring to here). (Isaiah 4:4)
Our gospel today says that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that whoever believes in him should not parish but have everlasting life. God did not send his son into the world in order to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved though him”. (Jn. 3:16-17) And by the live coal that touches our lips and make us clean. We like Isaiah, are cleansed, renewed, born again. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: “Whom shall I send and who shall go for us. And I said here I am send me”. Can you say that this morning? “Here I am Lord. Send me”!
Just as we have privileges and responsibilities as citizens of the United States, so we have privileges and responsibilities in the communities that we live in. We have privileges and responsibilities in the church as well. Sometimes we can get off balance. Sometimes we are overbalanced on our privileges and don’t really care whether or not the church is going to work like it should. We need to get involved and find an area of responsibility to take part in.
It reminds me of the story about the guy that took his dog to the Episcopal priest to get it baptized. He says:” Father will you please baptize my dog?” The priest says:” I bless dogs, and that is my privilege, but I do not baptize dogs. It’s my responsibility to baptize people”. Then the man says: “Well should I take this 10,000 dollar check to the Baptist Church and see if they will baptize my dog”. The priest says: “Oh wait a minute. I did not know it was an Episcopal Dog”.
When God says: Whom shall I send and who shall go for us, it’s a work of the Spirit. When God puts that burning coal on your lips and says: You are forgiven and begins to work and stir up your heart…see that’s the work of the Spirit working the words in you for you to say: “Yes, I will go. Here I am. Send me”.
Each of us is called. Will you go? Will you do what GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO? Will you go?
And when the coal touches your lips and you respond and say, yes here I am. I can use my lips. I can use my hands. I can use my feet. I can use my skills; my writing skills; photography, liturgy; communications. I can work in pastoral care outreach, stewardship, or wherever I am needed. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all you’re might”.
“Whom shall I send and who will go for us”? “Here I am Lord. Send me. Here I am send me”.
The Reverend Dr. David Madsen