Optional Reading: Isaiah 6:1-13 (Isaiah in the Temple)
Symbol: Tongs and Burning Coal
“Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which 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 forgiven.’” Isaiah 6: 6-7
With this reading we move beyond the history of the Chosen People and into the books of prophecy. In this reading Isaiah recounts his vision of God seated upon His throne, surrounded by angels who ceaselessly cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts!” When Isaiah’s lips are cleansed by the burning coal, he accepts the commission of God to be sent forth to tell the people what God wishes them to know. And what God wishes them to know is that He has not forgotten His promise of salvation; soon, the time will come for the Messiah to come and save His people.
Like Isaiah we may sometimes feel that we are unworthy to tell the Good News of salvation to others. But it is not our doing, after all. God will work through us, however unworthy we may be, if we conform ourselves to doing His will.
Optional Reading: Isaiah 8:11-9:7 (The kingship of Christ)
“‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
This beautiful prophecy of Isaiah’s contains some of the most familiar words referring to our Lord: we hear that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, we learn that the holy one to come will take the throne of David and establish his kingdom forever.
Yet it is not an earthly king who will be born, and the power of the One Whom Isaiah foretells in these verses is not to be a temporal, worldly power. The King of kings who will be born into the world is not going to overthrown the political enemies of Israel and establish an earthly kingdom. Instead, His Kingship is over our souls, and His Kingdom is a heavenly one. The first crown He will wear will be a crown of thorns and suffering; only after His Resurrection will He take His place at the right hand of the Father to reign forever.
We struggle at times to remember that the Kingdom Christ rules is not of this world. We grow weary and impatient with the ascendency of evil. And yet we know that Christ has already won the victory over sin and death, and when He comes again He will, indeed, come as King and as Judge in power and glory.