Isaiah 6:1-8 â€“ First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Trinity Sunday â€“ for June 3, 2012
â€œThen one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altarâ€¦â€ (Isaiah 6:6)
Most Bibles, regardless of the translation, contain footnotes . . . and for good reason.
Thousands of ancient manuscripts, from fragments to fully intact books, were used to compile the â€œOldâ€ and â€œNewâ€ Testaments. Some documents had multiple versions of the same verses and a footnote highlighted the different sentences or words. One well-known example is the end of Markâ€™s Gospel. Does Mark officially end at 16:8 or, because of other reputable, and very early, source material, does it end at Mark 16:20? That footnoted example is not one of a few, but one of thousands found on the pages of the â€œsacred text.â€
Frankly, Iâ€™d love to create a personal footnoted version of scripture to make the Bible less intimidating! Since I read the 6th chapter of Isaiah this week, Iâ€™ll use the â€œOldâ€ Testament prophet for my example . . .
6Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: â€˜Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.â€™ 8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, â€˜Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?â€™A,B,C And I said, â€˜Here am I; send me!â€™
ASome authorities add:Â And I looked around, hoping the seraph did not mean me, but it became clear I was the only one in the throne room of the Holy of Holies.
BOthers include:Â And verily, desirous of pleasing the Lord and yet fearful of making a mistake, I kept mute until the seraph smote me with its sixth wing.
CA few reliable sources instead read:Â And I said, â€˜Why not choose Hosea or Jeremiah? I predict they will be excellent prophets for any task the Lord God Almighty might desire.
This passage from Isaiah, a vision of angels, divine thrones and fiery coals able to burn away guilt, is one of the Bibleâ€™s best-known call passages. Who will I send, God asks. As written, the Hebrew prophet answered quickly and boldly. Why couldnâ€™t Isaiah be more like me? Have him hem and haw when God calls. Or how about an awkward silence when God asks, â€œWhom shall I send?â€
Or . . . a response from Isaiah like, Let me pray about it before I give you an answer. Truthfully, thatâ€™s often what I prefer before tough decisions. I need time for self-reflection and a selfless openness to Godâ€™s gift of a new future. Or, more truthfully, I plead Let me pray . . . to buy a few extra minutes hoping the Lord God Almighty will come to His or Her Holy Senses and realize Iâ€™m the worst person possible to respond to Godâ€™s call for witnessing or whatevering.
About a month ago the director of the Center for Grief & Healing program asked me to consider a part-time position at the hospice where Iâ€™d been volunteering. I knew the potential job meant Iâ€™d likely continue making phone calls to grieving families, but there might be additional responsibilities. I asked for a job description. The director emailed it to me the next day, a Friday. My first glance at the document caused me to think it was a boilerplate form, not yet including all the details. On my third or fourth read-through, I noticed the title on the job description included Angel Babies.
Gulp. The Center for Grief & Healing also supervised the Angel Babies program . . .
The Angel Babies program offers a perinatal hospice program designed for families whose unborn child has been diagnosed with a terminal condition, offering support during pregnancy and providing ideas for creating loving memoriesâ€¦ Continue reading →