Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Prophet Isaiah, by Marc Chagall, 1968, Chagall Museum, Nice, France

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
Isaiah 6:5-8

My eyes have seen the glory of God, but my mouth still slanders. Here is a mismatch between body parts, a misalignment, an incongruence. We all feel this from time to time. Our words sometimes do not match or emotions. We say "fine" when we are hurting, we say "yes" when we want to say "no", or we make promises we know we will not keep. At such times we are in a state of disquiet, out of integrity. This seems to be the position Isaiah finds himself in at the moment he witnesses God. He recognises his imperfection, his very state of being human. He needs a shift in consciousness to be able to do what is asked of him. The fiery coal perhaps represents truth-telling. The truth will purge us, will set us free. By speaking the truth, with compassion, in all circumstances, we are doing God's work.

My own personal recovery from addiction began when someone suggested I tell the truth, to all people, at all times. Strange as it may seem this was a revelation. Addicts lie. It is how they get by, how they meet their needs. Lying hurts those we love, and seeing this, knowing this, we fall into self-loathing, which leads to despair and hopelessness in a downward spiral. The pattern is broken when we start to speak the truth, no matter what.

Through his own truth-awakening Isaiah sheds all reservation, all sense of inadequacy, all fear. He shifts. And when asked, who will go for us? has no hesitation in responding Here am I; send me. He is ready.