Preparing for Worship – LeAnn Hampton, Wilshire member
Can you imagine it? Friends are gathered together sharing experiences of their lives, telling their stories. Each person starts with a phrase that describes when the event occurred — “in the year of the big storm” or “the year my family moved.”
The storyteller then paints a picture with his or her words, so the listener feels like she has been there experiencing the event. Some stories evoke laughter and others tears as each shares life events. Then a voice quietly says, “In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord.” Every eye stares in amazement as he describes in vivid detail the wonder, mystery and holiness of that moment.
The listeners are captivated with the story, and with holy imagination they visualize the images he describes — seraphs, coals of fire, voices proclaiming God’s holiness. The listeners are holding their collective breaths when he says, “then I heard the voice of the Lord.”
God intervened in the life of the writer of Isaiah, and he was compelled to share what happened. The impact of his story continues today as we hear these words in worship. We feel we’ve been transported to a holy place, and our minds are full of wonder at this unusual display of God’s power.
We probably haven’t seen seraphs or felt the coals of fire during the past 15 months, but the ways we have experienced the pandemic are deeply personal and have changed us in ways we could not have imagined. How and where have you experienced God’s presence and heard God’s voice? Or maybe you are still waiting and hoping for a fresh word from the Lord in the midst of the confusion of the past several months.
This Sunday, as we worship, let’s ponder the experiences we’ve had and what we are still learning from them. Each of us is unique, and just as God spoke in unusual ways to Isaiah, God is seeking to make God’s presence known to us. How might your unique story be an encouragement, an inspiration or a tool for learning for someone else? “In the year of covid-19,” what is the story you’ll share?