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!’
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Something of this scene reminds me of my own experience. Instead of seraphim, I am surrounded by familiar faces. A chorus of laughter reminds me that God injects himself into the common pleasures of life. As the scales fall off, I see the sidewalks, patios, or dinner tables overflowing with glory. What else can I do? Only a burst of praise can do any justice to the moment!
At other times, I’m transported by awe. Plumes of incense fill the chapel, and candles flutter like seraph wings. With bouts of acclamation, we chant, “holy, holy, holy” before the Lord. Here, I’m instantly filled with a reverence that is foreign to the crowded streets and social media feeds. The Bread of Angels is moved from the altar and placed on my lips. The moment is otherworldly, and I’m witness to God’s unfathomable depth.
Moments like these awaken such sensibilities in me, but, in today’s reading, the prophet Isaiah shows us that authentic experiences of praise and reverence are best followed by service. After intaking the glory, and bowing before God’s throne, he responds, “Here am I; send me!”
Here I am, Lord! Praise. Reverence. Serve.
—Jarvis Williams is wrapping up his year of service at Cristo Rey Jesuit in Houston as a part of the Volunteer Service Corps.
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith,
certain hope and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord,
that I may carry out
Your holy and true command. Amen.
—St. Francis of AssisiPlease share the Good Word with your friends!