Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips…(Isaiah 6:5)
Lost and unclean! That’s been me lately! Haha. At least that is how I have felt at times. I can’t recall when I’ve been asked to juggle as many things as I have the past few weeks—which has consequently left me feeling disoriented and fatigued. Between misplaced shirts, shorts, and keys, I’m pretty sure everyone in the family has had some difficulty finding the right boxes for the past several days. Thankfully, that period of time is coming to end. And yet, even in our inefficient meanderings through the spacious parsonage, God has graced us with plenty of humor and joy.
It has reminded me of a dream that I had some years ago, in which my great-grandfather—Henry James Lawrence—told me to ask the question “Where?,” if I didn’t know “What?” My grandfather was a man possessed by simple wisdom, little nuggets of which he would intermittently pass along. At the time, I was a junior at the University of Houston, studying philosophy and attempting to discern God’s desire for my life. I didn’t quite know what to ask in my prayers, and I suspect God was seeking to redirect my practice. Less than a year later, I was a member of First Congregational Church-Houston, and forming a committee to help me explore my call.
And now, here I am! A man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips…along with boxes and dust. I suspect we all have occasionally experienced the disorder of moving and the inevitably deferred maintenance of our homes and bodies. Things not placed well, not working right, not how we need them to be. And yet, I suspect it is precisely these times wherein God is at work showing us a new way. When we are our weakest, most vulnerable, most frustrated. As with the prophet Isaiah, God offers a word to us in the midst of tumult and transition.
To be sure, this word of guidance contains both judgment and direction. And it often entails some growing pains, without which the spiritual journey would be more like a trip to the grocery store. And we, like Isaiah, feel wholly unprepared to embrace the call set before us. We feel unclean, unworthy, and unable to live as God commands. But God always has a coal with which to blot out our transgressions, a blessing to lift us up from the doldrums into which we have been plunged.
As we move into a new season at Immanuel United Church, my prayer is that we would step boldly into God’s call on our lives, as individuals and as a community of Christ-followers. I pray that we embrace the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Here I am; send me!” If we truly give our lives to Christ, there is no limit to what God can do with us and through us for the world.