I wanted to use a responsive reading from Isaiah 6 for worship, but I couldn’t find one. So I wrote this one to guide our people to reflect upon God’s holiness, our sin, and his grace.
Leader: In the year that his king died, the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord still alive. In a moment when he beheld the glory of God, he wrote these words:
People: I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Leader: Above him stood a host of angels. These awe-inspiring angelic beings were not in awe of themselves but of another. They called to one another saying:
People: Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!
Leader: As this worship continued, the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called and the entire house was filled with smoke. In that moment, Isaiah rightly confessed:
People: 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.
Leader: Just like Isaiah, we have entered the presence of the LORD. He is supremely holy. He will not tolerate unholiness in his presence and yet somehow we are still standing.
People: Woe is me! I have rebelled against the LORD and I live in a culture that rebels against the LORD.
Leader: But thanks be to God – by his grace, he sent a seraphim to Isaiah with a burning coal from the altar and touched his mouth and said:
People: Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away; and your sin is atoned for.
Leader: And just like Isaiah, our hope is not in our moral perfection but in his divine forgiveness.
People: God, forgive us for how often and how far we wander and stray.
Leader: God, we need your grace.
People: God, we need your mercy.