Reading (Isaiah 6:1-8)
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
One of my favourite rooms in our house is the kitchen. We are very blessed to have a lovely large kitchen; large enough to have a table in it, as well as lots of cupboards and work surfaces. When I moved into the house, seven years ago, the kitchen was very tired and in need of updating, so back in February 2018 we had a new kitchen fitted. It was the first time either Rob or I had ever had a new kitchen and we loved choosing the cupboards, door handles and work surfaces. We decided to have solid wooden work surfaces and I have to say they looked beautiful when they were first put in. The only problem with wooden work surfaces is that they have to be maintained. Neither Rob nor I really appreciated what it would mean to have work surfaces that needed more than a wipe down after each use, for wood has to be looked after if you want your surface to continue to serve the purpose you chose it for.
About every six months (or so) the work surfaces in the kitchen all have to be cleared, cleaned and then oiled. The wood is, in effect, fed with the oil. The oil then has to be allowed to dry and lastly the surface rubbed over to ensure that any excess is removed. Last week Rob undertook the task of oiling the work surfaces and so over a period of four days we lived around the work surfaces being out of use. At the end of the task and with everything back where it goes the work surfaces look lovely again. Part of you doesn’t want to put anything on them, but that would defeat the whole point. The work surfaces are there to be used, they have been prepared for use, and they have a purpose, which they are fit to do again. In another six months’ time the whole process will be repeated.
I was reminded of one of the prayers that we use at the end of the communion service. We have come to God to be cleansed and renewed and we say together:
Almighty God, we thank you for feeding us with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him we offer you our souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice.
Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.
Like the work surfaces, we have a purpose, and that is to live and work to God’s praise and glory. Like the wood we need regular maintenance by God, we need cleansing and feeding but it should result in us being used. In Isaiah chapter 6 we read of Isaiah’s calling. This reading inspired the words of the hymn that we sing “I, the Lord of sea and sky” (MP 857). The hymn is all about our response to the needs of the world. Isaiah’s response was a clear one “Here am I, send me!” We may not all have visions such as Isaiah had, but each time we ask for God to fill us with his Spirit, to heal us and renew us it is for a purpose, not just to make us feel better but so that we can be ready to live and work to His praise and glory.
Fill us again with your Spirit Lord, so that when the call comes, we are able to say, here I am Lord, send me.