God’s Fiery Anointment

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.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Scripture Reading
Isaiah 6:1-8 (ESV)

The scripture reading today, tells us about Isaiah’s commission or also known as God’s Fiery Ointment. Ay mali ba, sorry, it’s God’s Fiery Anointment. If hindi kayo natawa, nakuha ko yung joke na yun kay Dale.

Ano ba yan si Hemar, walang ownership sa joke. Well. If we will talk about ownership, ownership is actually one of the themes that is presented in this scripture reading. The ownership and the process to be a servant of the Lord, and be a part of the mission and advocacy…

Before we talk about the themes, I’d like to talk about a personality type under Myers–Briggs 16 types of personality that is called the INFJ and it’s also referred to as “The Advocate”. In this personality, Myers–Briggs defined it as a person who tends to approach life with deep thoughtfulness and imagination. Their inner vision, personal values, and a quiet, principled version of humanism guide them in all things. Examples of famous advocates that we know are Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Lady Gaga. And hindi na tayo lalalayo pa, here in this church, even if we are not that consciously aware, we have traits within us that embodies us, as advocates who are concerned with humanism.

Our pastor, the legacy members, and the ministry members, we had committed to offer ourselves to the church and to its future. Why? I don’t think the members of this church are just here because, gusto natin may makausap o mag networking, gusto lang natin may mag affirm sa atin, or gusto natin ng group of people who will be our support group. Though some of us here are already content with these perks, these are not the only things that our church aims to provide. There is more in this community that makes us want to participate and stay and that’s with its advocacy. Well, that’s aside from spirituality.

Advocacy? 2 questions: 1. What advocacy is this? And 2. Why do you want to participate in this advocacy? Syempre ako na yung sasagot diba, ako na yong nandito.

Meron tayong MCC Statement of Faith and Prayers of the People, and I can cite some lines from these statements that will answer the question of what the church is advocating for. 

Though, mas maganda if personal hugot ko ang sagot ko for this question, since babasahin naman natin ang MCC Statement of Faith and Prayers of the People later.

For me, one of the advocacy of this church is to protect the future LGBTQIA+ generation from social injustice, creating a space for them, to let them know that there is a home, a church that accepts them even if the society or their own family is telling them otherwise.

2nd question: Why do I want to participate in this advocacy? I firmly believed that if I knew Open Table MCC in my teenager years, I don’t think I will have to rely a lot on my own in knowing the validity of my identity, the difficulties of handling the family rejection with my true identity, and the challenges I have to face in owning my identity as a transgender person. These struggles were rooted in my exclusion from the Traditional church and it could have been easier, but I had to experience all of that because no one was there to affirm me. I continue supporting this community so that, that young transnene who are like me, won’t experience the same struggles that I had experienced.

It’s very dramatic, right? It’s like advocacy is only for people na may mga personal struggle, na kailangan talaga dumaan ng difficult life experiences to get the motivation to become an advocate to make a change in the society.

It’s hard to believe that someone who is privileged, wala namang hirap, napaaral ng maayos sa private school, walang struggles at all sa family support, those type of people can be advocates. With these people, we think that they are only advocating, kasi they have ulterior motives. We think na they are fronting themselves as militants, for the poor, however, they are just selfishly benefiting the costs as it somehow fills their pocket and at the same time, getting the illusion of feeling good kasi they ‘help people in need’.

On the other hand, we have other people who feel like they don’t have the motivation to do advocacy, kasi they feel na they are undeserving, they have been doing bad deeds, they recognize they had consistently sided with the oppressors and they might think someone else might be more suited to do the advocacy, and not them.

It is hard to believe other people’s motivation in advocacy. However, our scripture reading today reminds us that our faith and values are enough for us to advocate for others. When we feel strongly about a particular cause or issue, we can choose to advocate to promote positive change even though we don’t have direct experience with these issues. 

Isaiah for instance, he wasn’t born and raised in a poor family, he had not experienced discrimination and injustice in his life. He was of a priestly family who helped their community. He was also an aristocrat with ample education as he spoke with kings. With his priestly family background, he came to know the face of poverty and the greed of the rich. He was acquainted with makers of discriminatory laws, greedy landgrabbers, and irresponsible leaders. In other words, he was intimately aware of the inequities and evils of human society back in his time, which is similar to what we are experiencing today. All of these awareness to the pressing social issues of his time, make him have the right faith and values.

Isaiah was one of the prophet’s who saw the lord. In verses 1 to 3, it provides us a picture of how the Lord presented himself to Isaiah, with seraphim accompanying him. The seraphim were calling to one another exalting the Lord’s holiness and glory.

However, Isaiah’s existing faith and values, wasn’t enough for him to feel confident in the eyes of the Lord. In verse 5, we can see how surprised Isaiah is to have seen the Lord and how he felt his unworthiness for this encounter.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

He believed that his lips had been defiled by his past sins and his efforts in helping people with unclean lips wasn’t enough.  How can he join in the praises of the seraphim when he feels unworthy as there is a guilt with his lips that are used for sinning.

There’s a common understanding among the Israelites that those who see God in His full glory must die (Exodus 33:20). As Isaiah deemed his unworthiness, he felt like it’s the end for him.

At the turn of events, in verses 6-7, one seraphim got a live coal and he touched Isaiah’s mouth to take away his guilt and atone his sin. It is not the end for him, it’s not his time to die, we later know in the succeeding chapters that he has more to do for the people in Israel.

Then in verse 8, the Lord asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”. Without a pause, he said, “Here am I. Send me!”

When the Lord asked Isaiah, he was asking for a recommendation, who should be the person fit for this role? However, without hesitation, without pointing his fingers to recommend someone else, he volunteered himself.

Our calling doesn’t have to be rooted by us experiencing direct struggles from social injustice, more importantly, the wrong actions in our lives doesn’t have to be a factor or a basis for us to be effective advocates. We can all be advocates, whatever our experiences, our background, and our past actions in life, we can always volunteer ourselves to be a part of an advocacy.

The prophet Isaiah put himself in a life changing situation as the Lord presented him with an opportunity to serve. There are also a lot of opportunities presented to us na kahit naman hindi directly pointed towards us. We can grab the oppprtunity, we have the capacity, however, one of the usual challenges is, we don’t have the motivation and we’re too attached with a lot of earthly distractions. Bakit ba ako mag bida bida, bakit ako mag vo-volunteer, mas mabuti pa iba nalang gagawa niyan. Gusto ko lang mag open ng dating apps and mag pa karat. Di pa ako ma-stress. Pero actually, ending  mas na stress na si accla sa pressure ng dating apps. O diba, ginusto mo yan.

The scripture reading also implicated a symbolism to death, or dying at the moment we take ownership of a responsibility. In the passage, Isaiah was presented to have an opportunity to serve and the part of him that was unclean died and he can now start with a new purpose to live for, which is the calling to serve the lord.

This is also in comparison to the opportunities that we receive in our lives, and some of the challenging opportunities is a way for us to change our old ways, and to be reborn so that we can develop ourselves to become a new person.

So if you have the time, the capacity, and the resources for an opportunity, any roles available to you. I encourage you to volunteer yourself without any hesitation, take ownership, volunteer yourself to a cause that you firmly believe in, in line with your faith and values. Or if hindi mo na gustong lumayo, volunteer here in Open Table MCC, anito ka na, I don’t think it’s hard to think of something that you can do for the church, especially here, you can tap anyone, and I’m sure we are willing to help each other accomplish our roles and responsibilities.

Hindi natin tinantago ang fact na some of us here are, broken, mentally struggling, unhappy with our lives, maybe the opportunities that are around us is a way for us to kill the old person that we are and see ourselves to be reborn in a new path.

Nasabi ko na to before, as per science, altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain and boosts happiness. Altruism is an action of doing something to others, without having to really think of your action if this benefits you or not. It’s like you’re doing things for others without thinking that you will get anything in return.

If today, you are presented with an opportunity or a calling to serve the Lord, how will you react, will you be fierce and without hesitation say, volunteer yourself. Or will you point a finger and recommend the person next to you?

Open Table MCC is a church for all, including LGBT+ people. All are welcome! Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news and events from our church community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *