Week of 2 Advent, Year One[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 38 (morning) // 119:25-48 (evening)
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
Isaiah’s vision in today’s first reading sounds at first like a generic call to prophecy: He sees the temple filled with the hem of the Lord’s robe, the six-winged seraphs hovering around the heavenly throne, and a hot coal placed on his lips. But this lighting of Isaiah’s tongue is not the prelude to Isaiah’s first prophecy; he’s been doing some prophesying already. This vision and this ignition of Isaiah’s mouth marks a transition in his ministry. He’s about to get involved in the politics of the Syro-Ephraimite war.
The prophet is about to act as a sort of national security advisor to Ahaz, king of Judah. The allied forces of Syria (Aram) and Israel (Ephraim) will lay siege to Jerusalem, and King Ahaz will have to decide whether to join their alliance himself against Assyria, or whether to submit to Assyria as a vassal state. Isaiah has some specific advice, but most of all Isaiah will counsel Ahaz not to act out of fear.
Might God be calling some of us into a deeper, messier engagement with politics–especially in a climate of fear? Many of us love to feel God’s presence in a sanctuary, to hear the refrain of “Holy holy holy,” to see the red hot coals and smoking incense as Isaiah did. But in the midst of the holy, our lips may be set on fire to speak about war and peace, to negotiate with kings, to meddle more and more. For Isaiah, that moment came “In the year that King Uzziah died.” Will this be our year?
Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.