|Rev. Eric S. Anderson, Minister of Communications and Technology|
This week's author is the Rev. Eric S. Anderson, Minister of Communications and Technology for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
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!"
This seems an odd text for Trinity Sunday. The only sign of three-ness, if you will, is the tri-fold repetition of the word "holy." Interestingly, Reginald Heber chose this verse as the foundation for his great hymn text praising "God in three persons," "Holy, Holy, Holy," which many of us will sing this Sunday set to John Dykes' grand melody Nicaea.
So, not much in the way of three-ness, but Isaiah's call says a great deal about the nature of God. God reigns; God is holy; God is glorious; God forgives people; God transforms people; God calls people. Particularly the last.
There are plenty of scenes like this one in the Bible: call stories of pomp and majesty, grand and frightening visions. Like Isaiah, Jeremiah receives his call in the Jerusalem Temple. "Ezekiel saw the wheel way up in the middle of the air," as the spiritual puts it. Jesus himself hears the voice of God at his baptism; so do Peter, James, and John on the mountain of transfiguration; the apostles see tongues of fire on their heads at the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost; and the apostle Paul sees the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. Signs and wonders, miracles and glory.
These sights are much scarcer for us, aren't they? Yet the reality of God's call remains. God calls the forgiven, transformed people to speak to those around them, to serve them, to inspire them. Over and over, in the voices of prophets and apostles, and in the still small voice each of us hears directly, God says: do justice. God says, love faithfully. God says, walk humbly with me.
Some among us have followed the call, as Francis Scott Key wrote in the little-remembered fourth verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner," "to stand between their loved home and the war's desolation." I remember them with gratitude in this Memorial Day week. I remember as well those whom God has summoned to be the "children of God," the ones called to be peacemakers. I remember those whose loving hands tuck their children safely into bed; I remember those whose passionate proclamation of justice makes it possible for those children to have a bed to sleep in. I remember the people who guide the state and the people who guide the soul; I remember the ones who turn the pages of history and the ones who turn the furrows of the soil. I remember those who strive to make coherent the mysteries of the universe, and those who proudly assemble the works of human hands.
God reigns. God is holy. God is glorious.
God forgives. God transforms. God calls.
God's people answer the call. For all these things, blessed is the name of the Lord.
Call and call again, glorious and holy One in Three, ruling in majesty. Call and call again, to the people whose lips you cleanse and whose strength you renew. Call and call again, that we may live justly, love faithfully, and always, always, walk humbly with you. Amen.
the Rev. Kevin Weikel, associate pastor at the First Church of Christ UCC in Simsbury, and his wife, Kelley Herstine Weikel, on the death of their unborn child;
Charlie Szyszko, husband of the Rev. Dolores Szyszko, former pastor in Connecticut, who is recovering but still needs prayers to determine the source of his illness;
all those who mourn one lost defending their nation on this Memorial Day;
those grieving or injured after the bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, today; and
the people of Syria affected by the weekend massacre which took the lives of over 100 people in Housa and Hama.
the family and friends of the Rev. Dr. James L. Kidd, pastor emeritus of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church UCC in Hartford, who died on May 19th;
the family and friends of Jolana Eva Kertesz Siladi, mother of the Rev. Kent Siladi, Florida Conference Minister and formerly a pastor and conference staff member in Connecticut, who died on May 13th;
those grieving or injured after the suicide bombing in Sanaa, Yemen on May 21st;
the family and friends of the Rev. Scott Raeburn, former pastor of the Taftville Congregational Church UCC and the Buckingham Congregational Church UCC in Glastonbury, who died on May 12th;
with joy the Rev. Ann Plumley, pastor of the First Church of Christ in Mansfield Congregational UCC, and the Rev. Dr. Thomas Clough, interim Eastern Regional Minister, on their union in wedlock on May 5th.
Gail Joslin, former staff member of the Connecticut Conference, being treated for advanced liver cancer;
US Army Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Carroll, son of the Rev. Carla Dietz Carroll, associate pastor at the United Church of Rowayton, UCC, and her husband John Carroll, who is stationed in Afghanistan; Sgt. Carroll and his wife have a young son Charlie;
the Rev. Dr. Barry Cass, the staff, members, and friends of the Somers Congregational United Church of Christ, which lost its 170-year-old meetinghouse to a devastating fire the night of January 1-2;
the lay leadership, staff, members, friends, and community of the Saugatuck Congregational Church UCC, which suffered severe damage from a substantial fire on the night of November 20;
the Conference's partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery and their communities on the Korean peninsula;
the Conference's partners working for peace in Colombia amidst violence;
the people of Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Djibouti, Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia, Egypt, and the Palestinian Territories: may they have justice and peace;
the leaders of this nation, that they may meet the challenges of the day with insight, wisdom, and compassion;
this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism;
those suffering due to the ongoing financial woes of the nation, be they struggling to meet an unaffordable mortgage, confronting the loss of a job, or working to find just resolutions to the crisis; and
those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck, particularly in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, and Colombia.
To be added to the prayer list, please send an email to Rev. Eric Anderson at: email@example.com.
First Church (Baptist & Cong'l)
P The Rev. Michael Wu
Wolcott Cong'l Church
P The Rev. Sue C. Strachan
PE The Rev. Frank P. Haggard
First Church of Christ, Woodbridge
P The Rev. Sara E. Penn-Strah
PE The Rev. Boyd M. Johnson Jr.
CE Ms. Barbara Marks
First Cong'l Church & Ecclesiastical Society Inc.
P The Rev. G. Lyn Barrett
CE Jill O'Neill
CE Ms. Mary MacLoud
North Cong'l Church of Woodbury
P The Rev. Dr. Craig T. McClellan
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The Spirit Calendar: May 28, 2012 by Rev. Eric S. Anderson, Minister of Communications and Technology