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June 18, 2023

The Calling to Be Holy

Pastor KJ Kim

Isaiah 6: 1-13

In today’s passage, the single word that sums up what happened to Isaiah is the word “Holy,” which is one of the best words for personhood as children of God, “holy.” He describes the vision in verse 3, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.”

What does “holy” mean? Holy is a word that sets something apart. What is holy is not derived from something we are, or, we have. Holy cannot be related to something we know. Instead, holy comes from outside. Holy is other than. And God is holy. God is not a projection of our imaginations, is not wish fulfillment, not a childish fantasy. But God is holy. And we all are called to be holy, setting ourselves apart. That is why we all are here this morning at this sanctuary.

When we think of being “holy,” we may tend to find someone worse than us, more wicked, more selfish, and even more sinful. By comparing us to those kinds of people, we think we do not look too bad. However, the passage tells us that being holy means we are in the presence of God, being conscious of our weaknesses, broken faults, and failures—leading us to stand humbly in front of God.

In addition, being holy does not ask us only to set ourselves apart from the world. The summary of the good news is always missional, just like God in today’s passage calls for God’s people, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

We, humans and institution-wise-denomination, try to trap God within this building. But God is at work in the world beyond this place of worship, beyond our denomination, and beyond us. Worship is not just a personal relationship with God. It is not just individual salvation. The world is included.

In today’s passage, Isaiah responded, and we responded. That is why we are here to be holy. We pray. We name names—friends, the sick, the anxious, and the bereaved. We gather here at this moment, but we will be spread. We declare and promise, "Here are we, O Lord, send us to the world for the people of God.”

Maybe, we sometimes wish we could have a vision in the same way that Isaiah had, but mostly not. What we are regularly aware of is the shaping influence that worships has on the life lived beyond this sanctuary, in our homes and places of work, among our neighbors—the awareness of our failures and of a calling to be holy; the awareness of our broken world and God’s reconciliation. There is a sense in which the hour of worship never ends.

God still wait for God’s people and calls and question—“Whom shall I send, and who will go for me?” We are here to respond and answer that calling—“Here are we. O Lord, send us out.”

Thanks be to God.

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