In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.
And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” 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.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Sent in spite of our imperfections
It is likely that we can all relate to Isaiah’s feelings of unworthiness. Perhaps we receive praise at work for something we consider simply doing our jobs. Maybe we have a friendship in which we seem to get more than we give. It could be an act of service that makes us feel that we gained more than those whom we served. Or perhaps, like Isaiah, we feel that our broken, fragile, imperfect selves are not worthy of God’s infinite love for us.
Just as Isaiah is forgiven of his sins, we too are offered this mercy in our own lives. Immediately after being forgiven, God calls Isaiah and Isaiah feels ready to accept his mission. God wants to send each of us, not necessarily in the same way as the prophet Isaiah, but in a way that allows our lives to be lived out in service of God.
If we are to be co-laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, how can we overcome our feelings of inadequacy and respond to God “Here am I; send me”?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Good and gracious God, you love us in spite of our failings, and you offer us your mercy and healing. May we respond to your invitation in our lives as Isaiah did “here am I; send me.” Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team