This weekend's scripture passage is alternately compelling and disturbing. The Prophet Isaiah has a vision of God's extraordinary majesty and responds with a willing heart, saying, "Here I am. Send me." It's the quintessential example of faithful living: deep religious experience followed by sacrificial service.
For those same reasons,
this weekend's story
is also disturbing. Most folks I know - and dare to guess that you know - do not have such transcendent faith experiences. And, if they do, they often lead to something less than lives of sacrificial service. So, what are we to make of this kind of story?
I believe that God comes to us in experiences we cannot always understand and can rarely explain to others. I believe God gives us occasional moments of clarity, or tantalizing moments of near clarity. I do not believe they are the same for all of us. Nor do I believe it is particularly important to talk about them and try to share them with others. I do not believe they happen often, that they are some measurement of our spiritual vitality, or that God wants us to keep hanging out in spiritual environments hoping for vision.
Finally, I believe that God wants us to know deeply in our souls that we are not alone, that there is a reality bigger than our reality and that in that reality, we will find the meaning and purpose of our lives.
This weekend, as we ordain and install elders, we'll explore spiritual experiences and our response. Come, and bring a friend.