Summary: If we keep our focus firmly on God and on bringing glory to him; we will see him move in power; we will tremble at his presence; and we will love his world with a heavy heart beat.
Sermon by Heather Cetrangolo
There are moments in life that make us quake. There are moments that make us tremble on the inside … and sometimes we tremble on the outside.
We tremble when we’re nervous, when we’re afraid, when we’re overwhelmed by emotion, and sometimes when we’re very sick, or in a lot of pain.
When I was 18 I went through an experience that made me think that there was something really wrong with my health. You see within the network of friends that I hung out with at that time, was a young man whose name was Adam. I’d known him for a number of years and he was a mutual friend. It was around June 2001, when I began to notice, that every time I was around Adam, my heart would beat a little faster than normal. On the inside I would tremble, in his presence. At first I thought maybe I just had an iron deficiency, but over time I noticed, that it was getting worse. It got to the point that every single time this young man came near me, my heart began to pound so hard, that I thought it was going to burst through my chest.
I remember crying out to the Lord one day, ‘What is wrong with me? I can’t calm down. My heart won’t slow down. I can’t breathe properly. I’m completely unsettled. What is wrong with me?’
A little sentence came into my mind … ‘Maybe you’re in love with Adam.’ I thought, ‘shut up shut up shut up! I don’t want to know that. If it’s an iron deficiency, I can fix that … but if I’ve fallen in love, well, then what am I gonna do?’
I didn’t realise that falling in love could be so unpleasant! But then, once I got used to the idea, I realised that, it was actually entirely pleasant. Falling in love is unsettling, but it also feels amazing. Scientists have shown that, when we fall in love, we actually experience a change in our brain chemistry …. Increases in adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin
- It’s a physical and a metaphysical experience
- We start to feel a tangible warmth come over us
- We tremble
- We begin to see our beloved through a haze of admiration
- We find energy and time for this person that we never thought we had (we need less sleep - that’s the dopamine)
I think falling in love gets a bad wrap actually. We think of it as a kind of non-reality, as ‘rose coloured glasses’ that we eventually need to take off. But I believe it’s quite the opposite. You see, you are an amazing person. God thinks that you are wonderful. He loves you. When we fall in love, rather than slip into some kind of non-reality, I think what happens is that a veil lifts, and for a time we see that person more for who they truly are:
- An amazing, wonderful, exciting person
And this experience changes us. It shakes us to the point that we are willing to dramatically change our lives to love and serve this person. It’s a very godly thing for us to fall in love (and if there is any problem with it, it’s only that we live in a fallen world, which means, we unfortunately, eventually, have to learn to live with the sinfulness in the people we love)
But when we fall in love, we see what was a hidden reality, manifest before us: the reality of a person’s goodness. What we experience, emotionally and physically, could best be described as a person’s ‘glory’.
And glory, is what I’m gonna talk about this morning. Glory is holiness made manifest (It’s the heart beat that says, this person is amazing … that little heart beat is a physical manifestation of holiness).
Well, it’s an amazing experience, when we fall in love, encountering the glory (the goodness) in one of God’s creatures. But it is NOTHING … it is NOTHING … compared to the experience, of encountering the glory of God. Because God is not fallen, and God is not finite, and God is not a creature. In fact he is the only one truly worthy to be glorified, because he is the only one who is truly and completely holy.
And that is exactly what Isaiah chapter 6 is all about. Isaiah has an encounter with the glory of God that shakes him to the core. He trembles (he sees what was once hidden made manifest)
Isaiah Sees the Glory of God
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: