Reverend Rob Lamerton
8 February 2004, Epiphany 5
And he prayed
Lord here am I. … Send HIM???
I'm sure God I am perfectly capable but I've got so much to do and I've got visitors coming this weekend … can't you just this time find someone else?
How often we know something is demanded of us—we know we should do something about it, but it is easier to shelve, to put it to the back of our mind
or find an excuse
or become busy with some irrelevant detail; maybe even say NO God, not me.
In our reading from Isaiah, he is in the Temple and it was the year that King Uzziah died. 742.
We don't know if the king's death had anything to do with it, but we hear of Isaiah the prophet confronted by the amazing and great mystery of God. Confronted by God, he is aware of his humanity and weakness.
"Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, yet my eye has seen the glory of the Lord of Hosts."
As soon as he is aware of his UN-cleanness he is cleansed by the touching of his mouth with the coal from the fire.
"Your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out"
Aware that God has now cleansed him he is also aware of God having a task for him.
"Whom shall I send and who will go for us?"
And so he realises that HE is the one
"Here I am, send me"
And only now does he discover the gravity and difficulty of the task. He is to tell his people that they are blind and deaf.
They are dull in the head and un-receptive to God. -------- Is it any wonder we feel that we are banging our heads against the wall speaking God's message of hope, peace and healing in this day and age?
And for Isaiah, there is no easy end because it will end in destruction and desolation—waste and emptiness!
It would be a message difficult to deliver.
but sometimes we are called to do difficult things because we know this is God's way and things will not be right until the message is delivered.
And often we do not get the message clearly to pass on—we have to find the words, the ways of communication; and make decisions about the way it is done.
Here am I—send me!
In the gospel story we hear of Jesus teaching from the boat and then encouraging Peter and the others to "pull out into the deep water and put down your nets for a catch."
Peter the fisherman knew better—he's been up all night and caught NOTHING! Now he's being asked to do something that goes against all his experience and upbringing against all his knowledge and judgement!
How often do we find ourselves challenged to risk it. To grab the opportunity even though it seems crazy! To trust that God is somewhere in all of this!
Well we know the outcome.—Peter is amazed and astounded at the great mystery of it all.
Now recall Isaiah's experience was of God's glory high and lifted up, a profound experience beyond reality.
But Peter's was a profound experience of the everyday—he knew nothing but fishing.
It tells me that as much as God is the wonderful and mysterious of things beyond us…
In Christ Jesus, God is also the God of the
and it is often in the everyday things through which God's word comes to us and through which Jesus speaks and the Spirit is active.
------- watch out.
We find too that like Isaiah, Peter was profoundly moved and like Isaiah he was aware of his sinfulness put simply, his own separation from God, his own smallness before God and all his failures before God.
In this story too—in spite of his sense of failure ----- he is restored, like Isaiah.
"Do not be afraid," says Jesus.
I have something for you to do.
"from now on, you will be catching people"
It seems a crazy ask and it will no doubt be a difficult one and Peter responds to the invitation. He left everything and followed him.
Not always are we called to abandon ALL.
Sometimes we are called to stay where we are and hang in there as God's agent.
But sometimes, sometimes we are called to cut ties with the past and follow a new path knowing that God calls us—that Jesus walks with us—and that His Spirit enables us.
If we learn anything about Jesus' Epiphany , if anything is made known about Jesus, it is that the God who is high and lofty, amazing and mysterious, is also the God of the everyday events and that with Christ, the every day events are turned to reveal God and serve God's purpose.