Saturday 10 July 2010

Bible Book:

"Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said, 'Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.'" (v.6-7)

Isaiah 6:1-8 Saturday 10 July 2010


One of the most amazing scenes I witnessed when I visited Haitiwas at the main Methodist church in Port-au-Prince. Next to thechurch lay the ruined New College Bird, the district offices nextto it were a broken shell and the church was empty, dusty, lifelessand silent.

Yet in the midst of all the destruction that I had seen, surroundedby dust, behind the church's communion table, I noticed that thestained glass windows had miraculously survived. One of these wasof a dove moving over troubled waters. Amidst this terribledestruction I was taken back to the scene of Creation describedinGenesis 1:2.

This week's readings from Hosea have reminded us how the lifeexperience of the prophet became a springboard for his preaching.His declarations concluded with the plea to 'return' - for hisunfaithful wife Gomer to return to him, and for the nation ofIsrael to return to its true god. As the readings move to Isaiahtoday, it is as if we are hearing words that Gomer might love tohave heard.

These words, describing the call of the prophet Isaiah, are wordsof testimony following a conversion. They identify a time, describea vision, and appreciate the wonder of God. They speak ofrepentance, describe a context and express the essence of the call."Your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out" articulateswell the feelings of a person who has been forgiven and very muchappreciates it. All too often guilt becomes a burden that hindersour mission. With what reluctance we appear to offer the liberationthat comes with forgiveness in some of our declarations andpractice.

The Church's traditions and rituals lay in the dust of disaster,yet the creative spirit of God broods over our troubles and thoseof others, and offers words of assurance and forgiveness. I amconstantly struck by the images of people that the media reports ashaving achieved a victory for justice today. They come out ofcourts, issue statements and are greeted by jubilant supporters. Itis human justice to get our day in court and to rejoice when thejudge has decided in our favour. Is it divine justice? - it appearsnot! God's justice is creative and achieves victory throughforgiveness.

To Ponder

I have heard it said many times by many people -"I cannot forgive". Under what circumstances might you find itdifficult to forgive a wrong done to you?

Faced with a vision of God's majesty Isaiah washumbled, and he responded with commitment. Has commitment ever beenyour reaction to being humbled? What happened?

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