I’ve tagged this reading as Isaiah 1-8 because in rereading Isaiah a couple of days ago a scripture really jumped out at me. I read it first in Spanish, “¿Para qué recibir más golpes?” Is. 1:5. Why should we receive more beatings. The cost of perpetrating injustice is like a beating on the perpetrator. This feels like one anchor point for message.
Isaiah targets the privileged in his list of woes. “Therefore Death expands its jaws, opening wide its mouth; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers.” Is. 5:18. The Prophet engages in class warfare. He tells the listeners to, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Is. 1:17. These ideas ring out as moral guidance. More than mental exercise, but they do not quite strike a soulful chord.
Having spent the last four days in General Assembly with my church, having spoken of justice for LGBTQ+ and how to bring it home to Arizona, having heard Rev. Barber preach and then met with other people about bringing something like Moral Mondays to Arizona, there is a chord that is still vibrating in my soul.
That vibration, that dawn of transformation type feeling that rests in your belly more than your head, I believe that is what Isaiah captures in the following passage:
I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
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!”