The focus of Isaiah’s objection and God’s subsequent healing is the lips. The mouth holds much power. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel says, “Words create worlds.”
God links the mouth with creative power. Creation originated with God’s speech. God spoke and everything we see, touch, and love came into being. And when Christ came to live with us, side by side, we came to know him as the “Word made flesh.”
We’ve all experienced times when words someone spoke destroyed us inside. Or times when a word of encouragement changed everything.
Like Isaiah, God births anew our mouths today, asking us to use our lips to create a world of blessing. The words you pray over your children, partners, friends, those you love, even those you can’t stand, all enliven the world with light.
Each night as my husband and I put our two-year-old daughter to bed, we say over her a prayer I wrote based on the fruit of the Spirit: words that remind us what a life after God’s own heart looks like and how God produces this in and through us even when we struggle to see it. I encourage you to pray this prayer on behalf of someone you love. Insert her or his name. Maybe write it down on a scrap of paper, in a journal, or an e-mail. Let your heart rest there, giving thanks for this person and knowing God prays this over you every day.
Loving God, I pray for your love in ’s life. I pray for your joy in ’s heart. I pray for your peace in ’s soul. I pray for your patience in ’s words. I pray for your kindness in ’s actions. I pray for your goodness in ’s sharing. I pray for your faithfulness in ’s relationships. I pray for your gentleness in ’s spirit. And I pray for your self-control in ’s choices. May this fruit blossom in and through . Amen.
This Sunday we will celebrate the Trinity, the Christian belief that God is one being and exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christian theologians point out that there are many references to this doctrine throughout the Bible. In Isaiah, the voice of the Lord asks, “Who will go for us?” not, “Who will go for me?” In the passage in Romans, Paul speaks of all three persons of the Trinity: We pray to the Father through the Spirit because of the work of the Son. Jesus also speaks to Nicodemus about the role of all three persons of the Trinity. This may not be the simplest of Christian doctrines, but it is foundational because it explains the nature of God and God’s work throughout human history.
• Read Isaiah 6:1-8. When have you experienced a cleansing by God, resulting in a greater willingness to serve?
• Read Psalm 29. As you read about the power of the Lord’s voice, do you find yourself frightened or drawn in? How approachable is God to you?
• Read Romans 8:12-17. What have you released to God? What bitterness has taken its toll on your soul? Are you ready to let it go?
• Read John 3:1-17. How has your life been reshaped by the Spirit? How did sins and failings manifest in the new creation?
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