Isaiah predicted an invasion. He warned the people to get ready for what was to come, but they ignored him. They carried on living as though life was one continuous self-indulgent lark. What to do? Isaiah wondered. He turned to God yet again. What to do? And he had a vision. He imagined he was in a brilliant temple, standing at the throne of God. Around him angels hovered.
In his vision he cried out to God “I’m just human, burdened by my mistakes, and unable to utter a coherent word to my fellow humans, yet here I am before God, asking for help”. And an angel came near to him and offered him a burning coal, which he put to his lips. The angel said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then Isaiah heard the voice of God saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And Isaiah said, “Here am I; send me!”
God then made the rather jaded observation that even should Isaiah speak for God among the people, the people are not likely to hear or understand, and they would go on ignoring the danger they were in and keep living in denial.
“How long with this last?” Isaiah asked. And God replied: “Until every city is emptied and the land is utterly desolate and every tree has been felled and there is nothing left but a bunch of stumps…but…the holy seed is in the stump.”
The holy seed is in the stump.
I admit I’ve been pretty hard on the church lately. I’ve predicted an invasion of indifference and scorn in the general population toward people of faith. But this Sunday, thanks to a pandemic, I was able, for the very first time, to scan across the internet and watch my colleagues, people I went to school with, graduated with, lead their people in worship. I heard them offer heart felt greetings to people as they logged on to Facebook Live, and offer prayers of hope and words of comfort and peace.
It Was Wonderful!
I remembered how, on our graduation day, we all sang “Here I am Lord…I will go Lord, where you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart.” And we all cried, because that is a beautiful and terrible responsibility. I had forgotten how important that call is until I got on the phone and started talking to people. As we prayed together.
Like Isaiah, we know directly from God that the holy seed is in the stump. God is always bringing new life to what seems dead.
Our ministry, all of us, is to be the holy seed that tells the world this too shall pass, new life will come. God has told us so. Love has told us so.
May God bless you and keep you as we weather this storm.
Here’s something to lift your spirits: National Youth Choir of Scotland; Here I am Lord