Originally scheduled for September 22
One must suppose that it happens to every young
man at one time or another. Usually without warning a woman walks
into a room and utterly silences the young men by her beauty. She is
stunningly good looking, and suddenly the men are silenced. We need
not point out that to judge the woman by her appearance alone is
unfair. It is simply the fact that there are a rare few women who
are so stunningly beautiful that when they walk into the room men
The moment is very revealing of a man’s
character. The natural instinct of an honest man is to think that a
queen belongs in a castle — and what is woman who looks like that
There is a similar situation described in the
Bible. You will recall the prophet Isaiah who is suddenly given a
vision of the Living God. Isaiah knows his Scripture; he knows that
no one can see God and live. He also knows why. Sin cannot survive
in the presence of the holy God.
Isaiah’s reaction is rather logical: he
recognizes that he is toast. Like the moment with the pretty girl,
it is his tongue that causes his troubles. He is a man of unclean
lips, living among a people of unclean lips — and he knows this is
not acceptable to the holy God. With such awesome power surrounding
him, he has no hope of survival. You will recall that St. Peter had
the same reaction once.
But the living God has other plans. An angel
takes a coal from the altar and touches Isaiah’s lips with it. He
then pronounces him forgiven, and thus fit to stand in the presence
of Almighty God.
There is a principle at work here which we
should learn. If you want to come close to God, you the sinner must
be forgiven first. Here, at the Lord’s supper, you come closest to
God in all of worship. So it is good for us to ask how we might do
First, we need to examine ourselves
to see where we have sinned — for sin is the barrier between man and
Next, having identified the sin, we
need to repent of it. If there is no repentance, there is no
forgiveness from God.
Finally, we must then ask for
forgiveness from the God who gives it richly and generously.
The sense of awe which accompanies and utterly
beautiful woman is trivial compared to the sense of awe which should
accompany the site of the living God. You come before him now; do so
in a manner worthy. Remember that that forgiveness was paid for at
the price of the life of Jesus Christ. His body, his blood were used
to create your salvation.