Lent • Day 11

In the year that King Uzziah died, 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 LordAlmighty.”

Isaiah 6:1-5

We sloshed through the serpentine paths of the slum together. Half-naked, barefooted little ones ran alongside us shouting the only English they knew: “How are you? How are you? How are you?”

Clouds of steam spilled from boiling vats of moonshine hugged the ground like a heavy fog. Rain tapped on the sea of rusting corrugated roofs like a billion fingernails. Open sewers overflowed, spilling across our path, under our feet, under those little feet.

“They don’t know they are poor yet,” he said.

When he was their age there was a “movie man” in the slum who owned a television. The movie man cut a hole through the cardboard wall of his home, hung a piece of cloth over it, and charged men a shilling each to peek through it at pornographic movies.

One day the movie man offered my friend a free peek – not at pornography, but a movie from America. On the screen was a family seated around a large table, a plate filled with food in front of each of them. They were clean and nicely dressed, drinking and refilling, eating and scooping second helpings.

He was hungry, shoeless, often sick; but so was everyone else he knew. When looking at his neighbors he felt normal. But when he looked through the movie man’s window he felt poor.

One day a window into heaven opened and Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a throne. Seraphim shielded their eyes, covered their filthy feet and shouted, “Holy! Holy! Holy is the Lord Almighty! The whole earth is full of his glory!”

Seeing all that God is, Isaiah saw all that he was not. Not holy. Not glorious.

“Woe to me!” he cried.

“I am ruined!” he mourned.

“I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips,” he confessed. 

“My eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Reflection

• What has gone unconfessed because it has gone unnoticed?

Our Prayer

Forgiver, thank you for opening a window to your holiness and glory. Thank you for revealing my unholy, inglorious, true self.

Thank you for loving me, forgiving me, remaking me. Thank you that my guilt has been taken away and my sin has been atoned for (Isaiah 6:7)

Your mercy endures forever.

Amen.

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