A Stunning Vision
The call of Isaiah (click here to read it) is one of the more stunning visuals from the Scripture. God appears to Isaiah on a “high and lofty” throne, the hem of His robes filling the temple, surrounded by seraphs (angels) with six wings each, and the angels are singing “Holy, holy, holy…” The original Hebrew lacks superlatives, so repeating the word is to emphasize the extreme holiness of God.
Isaiah responds as most of us would — overwhelmed and overcome. He recognizes that next to this being, he is nothing: “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!”
But the response of the angel is a good reminder for us. After pronouncing forgiveness (and touching Isaiah’s lips with a burning coal as a mark of forgiveness) he does not try to comfort Isaiah. No assurances that he is loved and worthy. Only a task.
The lesson is as contemporary as it is age old. It is not being told we are OK that makes us feel OK, it is shared labor that makes a difference.
We see the same thing in the Gospel lesson. Peter has a similar reaction to Isaiah (“Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”, click here to read the full lesson) and once again, the response is not reassurances but a task. Jesus tells him that “from now on you will be catching people.”
Do you want to grow in your faith? Become a more confident Christian? Get off being ‘stuck’? Don’t wait for magic words to fix it. Get busy. Serve. Love. Reach out. Even if you don’t feel like it. It’s the best way you’ll get better!
This column appeared in the February 10, 2019 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current issue.