Reflections: Monday of the Week of Holy Trinity

May 27, 2024

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8

Daily Lectionary: Ecclesiastes 4:1-16; John 7:32-53

And I said: “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!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that 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 atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:5–7)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Isaiah was a smart one. He knew what was going on around him. You see, for sinners, the presence of God is absolutely bad news. What happens to sinners in the presence of God? Death. Blown up. Toast. Zapped. Whatever fun phrase you use to describe it, the point is this: God is perfection, and perfection will not abide chaos and sin in its presence for very long. And so Isaiah is afraid. Isaiah is not only reflecting that the people he dwells with are unclean and say unclean things, but he is aware that he himself is a sinner. He thinks he is done for.

And so what happens? Is Isaiah zapped by God? Absolutely not. What Isaiah experiences is one of the most awesome absolutions anyone has ever experienced. He confesses his sins (“I am a man of unclean lips”) and is then forgiven by God, which is the angel touching his lips with the coal. Notice that God does not say in response, “Yes, you are. Your lips are filthy” or “Yes, you are, and so you better get fixing it.” God simply directs one of his ministers (in this case, an angel) to absolve Isaiah so he can continue his work on behalf of the LORD. 

Believe it or not, you get the same thing. No, you don’t quite have an angel touching your lips with a flaming coal, but you do still have one of the LORD’s pastors ready and waiting to hear your confession and pronounce that your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for. In the Divine Service, you make the sign of the cross, remembering that you are a baptized child of God. Like Isaiah, you are given something on your lips: Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Lord’s Supper. This also delivers to you God’s forgiveness. You are covered with Jesus and are now perfect before God; you get to continue in the work that God has placed before you as you love and care for your neighbors. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty, everlasting God, for our many sins we justly deserve eternal condemnation. In Your mercy You sent Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who won for us forgiveness of sins and everlasting salvation. Grant us a true confession that, dead to sin, we may be raised up by Your life-giving Absolution. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may be ever watchful and live true and godly lives in Your service; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Before confession and absolution, LSB)

-Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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