Sunday, April 10, 2011

In the Right Frame of Mind

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for." (Isaiah 6:1-7, ESV)


In the process of working through thoughts about Lent, I was drawn to the possibilities that it could bring and how I could apply it to my own life. I was specifically thinking in a non-liturgical fashion and wasn't limiting myself to the traditional forty day period leading up to Easter. Rather, I was looking for a way to deepen my relationship with my Savior and place myself in a position where I could hear Him more clearly.

One of the books I turned to was Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. After working through the foundational material he presents, the Christian Disciplines are laid out twelve practices which we would do well to learn and implement. The first one detailed by Foster is (and not surprisingly, knowing his Quaker roots) meditation. He notes, "What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart." I think that's why this passage from Isaiah came so readily to mind.

The great prophet has prepared his heart in a fashion so that he can hear God very clearly. You would expect this much of Isaiah given his charge and work. But I have to think he is especially in this frame of mind and soul when Uzziah dies and God grants him the vision described in this passage. To me, that demonstrates a meditative heart to the greatest degree humanly possible. Think of it! He sees God seated on His throne in His heavenly temple - so immense and awesome that He fills the temple and shakes the foundations of the universe. I sincerely doubt that a man who didn't meditate could stand up to a vision such as this.

As I travel my Crooked Path, specifically as I journey through Lent this year, I hope I can bring my heart and mind to the place where I can easily hear God speak. It can come in so many ways through so many people or things - I just want to be in a position to recognize it. As the Psalmist said (Psalm 77), "I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy."

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