Summary: A sermon about call.
“In the Year King Uzziah Died…”
In the year that President Kennedy was shot.
In the year that Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down.
In the year that the Space Shuttle blew up.
In the year that the planes hit the World Trade Center Towers.
“In the year that King Uzziah died…”
King Uzziah ruled Judah for 52 years.
He brought the Kingdom to new heights of economic prosperity, military power, and political influence.
Pretty hard to forget when someone that influential passes from sight, or when something that traumatic happens in our lives.
And so, in order to put a date on Isaiah’s dramatic and life-changing experience and call from God—he names an event that everyone will remember.
“Oh, yeah. I even remember where I was when I heard the news.”
“In the year that King Uzziah died.”
“That was 740 BC.”
“Alright, go on. I’ve got the context.”
What’s cool about the way Isaiah begins Chapter 6 is that we can see he is writing down his vision for earthly readers just like you, just like me.
God encounters us in our historical contexts—in real time—while other events are going on.
And God encounters Isaiah in the same way.
It brings this other-worldly vision a bit down to earth does it not?
It makes it a bit more real.
Isaiah was doing much the same thing as you and I are doing this morning when God came to him.
Isaiah was worshipping.
He was at church.
But do you think he was expecting much out of the worship experience that day?
I don’t know.
About 10 or 11 years ago I was over in Vienna, Austria.
On a Sunday morning we visited a huge and ancient Roman Catholic Cathedral.
We had come as tourists, but we had also come to worship.
After-all, there isn’t really anything other than Catholic Churches over in Germany and Austria.
I hadn’t been to a Catholic Service since I went with a friend of mine, whose house I had spent the night at, when I was about 9 years old.
In any event, I went to that Cathedral to worship, but also, it was a major tourist thoroughfare.
I mean, this Cathedral—St. Stephen’s--was built in 1,147 and is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna.
Pretty amazing place.
Now, if you haven’t figured it out by my last name—my ancestors are from that part of the world.
And during that service, I had a vision.
And I actually saw a light.
And tears started dripping down my face as God spoke to me in a very real and dramatic fashion.
I realized that, had my great-grandfather and his family not migrated from Germany, I would be a Roman Catholic Priest.
But it enabled me to see that I am who God has created me to be whether I was raised an American Methodist or as a German Catholic.
And I worshipped God that day.
It wasn’t just another fascinating tourist experience.
I really worshipped God in that Catholic Church.
I wasn’t expecting it, I don’t think.
So, “In the year that King Uzziah died” Isaiah went to the Temple just like he did every other Sabbath.
Who knows what was going on in his life that day.
Who knows what his week had been like.
Who knows if he was even thinking about God and heavenly things.
And then it happened.
He saw the Lord.
He really saw the Lord!!!
And the angels were singing: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
And with that, Isaiah saw himself for who he was.
A human being.
A person struggling with life and with himself.
A person who is lost.
A person with a lot of bad in him.
Not the kind of person a holy God would want to have around.
One of you said to me last week, though, and it’s true: “It’s a good thing God likes rotten people.”
And that is how Isaiah felt that day when the Lord appeared to him in the Temple.
How are you feeling this morning?
Are you feeling weighed down by sin and pain?
Are you caught up in things that make you feel rotten?
If so, you aren’t alone.
Perhaps you have hurt someone’s feelings this week.
Maybe you have lost track of yourself and done some things you aren’t proud of.
Perhaps you are angry with someone, and can’t seem to let go of that anger.
Whatever it is, think about what is making you feel rotten?
Don’t be afraid.
Allow God to put a mirror up to your soul.
Search your heart in the presence of a Holy God.
Where do you fall short?