Summary: Viewing the Holiness of God caused Isaiah to exclaim the heart-attack language of "Woe is me!" and does the same to us, the season of Lent is a time in the Christian year to examine ourselves and have a heart attack experience as well.
Goal: That we might be so stricken to the heart that we are shocked into realizing our place before a Holy God.
Malady: We’re building up with complacency.
Means: Christ came to us, became heartache for us, and
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit – the HOLY Three in One who gives us the heart attack to realize who we are, and then the heart attack of becoming righteous in His Holy eyes. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One of the guys I know in St. Louis told me this story. He told me that one day he answered the phone and on the other end was a voice that he had not heard in 15 years. It was a friend of his from a very very long time ago calling to apologize for an argument that they had some 15 years ago. They had never resolved their differences. But this friend was finally calling to apologize. After they had talked for a while and shared forgiveness with one another – He still had to ask one question of his friend.
“Why now, after 15 years are you calling me up to apologize?”
The phone went dead for a few silent seconds and finally the voice on the other end said, “I just had a heart attack last month, and my whole world looks different to me now.”
Isn’t it amazing how that when people are taken out of their comfort zones and forced to think outside of the box of their everyday grievances and opinions, that it makes the whole world look different to them?
The prophet Isaiah seemed to have had a heart attack in our Old Testament reading for this morning. “Woe to me!” the prophet exclaims, “I am a man of unclean lips living with unclean people!….and I have just seen God.” Heart attack indeed. Touched on his lips by a glowing hot coal brought to his mouth by a six winged seraph. His whole world looked different to him.
We know heart attacks, we probably know at least one person who has had one.
Coronary heart failure is the most common fatality in the United States at this time, and the 3rd leading cause of serious disability.
We know the causes, the diet and the actions or inactions. We might even be eating the same thing or engaging in the same activities that we know will lead us down that road – assuming that nothing will happen to us, as our arteries begin to become coated with plaque and cholesterol. Are we taking care of ourselves? Do we have things building up? Have our blood vessels hardened?
Has something been clogging up your spiritual arteries? Have you been indulging is too much of a good thing? So much of something that it has driven you farther away from having a relationship that you have with Jesus? Has something in your life been keeping your time for prayer, or reading the Bible or coming to church clogged up?
Have your spiritual arteries been hardening? Have you gotten so used to the way things go around here that you haven’t stopped to think that maybe something new could happen? Are your blood vessels too rigid now to consider any kind of change?
When I look at my own Christian life, I have to look at it like a man standing beside a friend’s hospital bed. I have been too hard, too rigid, too clogged. I’m just a mass, a lump lying on that bed, fed and bled by tubes that are more flexible and clearer than mine.
That is what this season of Lent is for. That is what this book that we’re studying, the Holy Wild, is for. That is what this time of preparation is for. It is to finally show you the effects of everything you’ve been putting into and neglecting from your Life – and to show in relation to God’s Holiness. It is to make something hit you, and I want it to hit you so hard. I want it to hit you like a heart attack.
This experience of Lent that we go through together every year is like coming to the vision with Isaiah. It is coming to the Bible, to the altar, and to our Holy God – looking up and seeing all of His majesty and glory. It is to see God’s Holy Wholeness, Otherness, and Aliveness and to be struck almost dead by it.
We see God’s wholeness and we begin to feel a tightness in our chest. We wrestle and gasp as this invisible force that weighs on us. We struggle against a God who is as complete and bigger than the Universe, known and unknown – now sitting on our chests. We struggle for every breath.