Reflections: May 31, 2021
Monday of Trinity Week
By Jeffrey Horn
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"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" (Isaiah 6:3b)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Isaiah goes into the temple and sees the Lord God sitting on a throne. God is so glorious that even the train of His robe fills the huge building. John 12:41 tells us that Isaiah is seeing the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, before He became incarnate and was born of the Virgin Mary.
The LORD had always been present each time people came into the temple to worship, just as He had promised. But now Isaiah sees Him in His glory. He also sees and hears the holy angels praising God, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" (Isaiah 6:3) From the days of the early Church, we have heard this as praising the Holy Trinity. The angels proclaim God is holy (singular) but say it three times, reflecting that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each holy.
And how does Isaiah respond to seeing the Lord in His glory? He says, "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" (6:5) When Isaiah sees God in glory, he is acutely aware of his own sin, so much so that he centers on the uncleanness of his lips. Every word he says, every breath, every bite of food, all of it is soiled with sin. He is also in the midst of people who are unclean in the same way. For his own sin and the sin of the people, Isaiah deserves to perish.
But God has come to save Isaiah, not to condemn him. An angel touches his lips with a coal from the altar and his sin is taken away. Isaiah can be in God's presence in peace.
When we come to church to hear the Word and receive the Sacraments, we also stand in the presence of God, though we cannot see Him. This is why we start our service confessing our sins like Isaiah did, and we hear God declare us forgiven. We, too, need our sin taken away. It's not done with a burning coal, but with the blood of Christ shed on the Cross. It touches our lips under the wine in the Supper and we are forgiven. By the blood of Christ, you have peace with God. You are cleansed to be His child by grace, forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea. Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three persons, blessed Trinity! ("Holy, Holy, Holy" LSB 507, st.4)
-Rev. Jeffrey Horn is the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA.
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