Sunday, October 25, 2020: Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

This Week’s Theme
The Holiness of God
Isaiah 6.1-7
(The Knowledge of the Holy [KOTH], Chapter 21)

The prophets of the Lord received their call and vision from God, often specifically mentioned in their reportings (Samuel in the temple, Moses before the burning bush, Ezekiel while in Babylon). In the year that King Uzziah died (Azariah, cf. 2 Kings 15.1), he received a vision of the Holy One, the Lord, sitting upon a throne, “high and lifted up.” In this vision, the train of his robe filled the temple – Isaiah’s vision appears to be a revelation of the throne of the LORD in heaven itself!

Above the Lord on the throne stood the seraphim (literally, “burning ones”), angelic beings of great power and glory. Each had six wings, two covering his face (perhaps shielding themselves from the divine glory), two covering 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!” The LORD dwells in an atmosphere of praise and glory, and the whole earth is full of his majesty and splendor. The very foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of the LORD, the one who called, and the house itself was filled with smoke. Isaiah, being overwhelmed by the vision of the LORD’s holiness upon his throne and the angelic beings in his presence, cried out, “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!”

“The sudden realization of his personal depravity came like a stroke from heaven upon the trembling heart of Isaiah at the moment when he had his revolutionary vision of the holiness of God. His pain-filled cry, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts, expresses the feeling of every man who has discovered himself under his disguises and has been confronted with an inward sight of the holy whiteness that is God. Such an experience cannot but be emotionally violent” (KOTH, p. 103). Tozer rightly says regarding God’s holiness: “Until we have seen ourselves as God see us, we are not likely to be much disturbed over conditions around us as long as they do not get so far out of hand as to threaten our comfortable way of life” (ibid.). He further argues that no one or nothing can impart to the human spirit the knowledge of the holy, save the Spirit of the Holy One himself.

Isaiah says that at that moment, one of the seraphim flew to him, having in his hand a burning coal, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. And the seraphim touched Isaiah’s mouth, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” The Lord had cleansed his servant’s lips when one of the seraphim flew to him, having in his hand a burning coal, taken from the altar. Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” To this question, Isaiah gave his hearty reply: “Here I am! Send me.”

A vision of the Lord, our triune God, in his holiness and glory, in his temple, is the ground of all prophetic ministry and witness. Only when we have seen the Lord are we ready to be placed in a position to be cleansed by him. After we are cleansed by our Holy God, only then, will we be ready to speak for him.

Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

Glory be to God on high. We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, for Thy great glory. Lord, I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me which I knew not. I heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee and I abhor myself in dust and ashes. O Lord, I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken, yea, twice, but I will proceed no further.

But while I was musing the fire burned. Lord, I must speak of Thee, lest by my silence I offend against the generation of Thy children. Behold, Thou has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. O Lord, forsake me not. Let me show forth Thy strength unto this generation and Thy power to everyone that is to come. Raise up prophets and seers in Thy Church who shall magnify Thy glory and through Thine almighty Spirit restore to Thy people the knowledge of the holy. Amen.
~ KOTH, p. 103

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus 

You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day

Sunday: Rom. 7-9

Lectionary Readings

Psalm: Ps. 90.1-6, 13-17

OT: Deut. 34.1-12

Gospel: Matt. 22.34-46

NT: 1 Thess. 2.1-8

(Click here for all readings)

Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Departing to Serve

How dread are Thine eternal years,
O everlasting Lord!
By prostrate spirits day and night
Incessantly adored!

How beautiful, how beautiful
The sight of Thee must be,
Thine endless wisdom, boundless power,
And awful purity!

Oh how I fear Thee, living God!
With deepest, tenderest fears,
And worship Thee with trembling hope,
And penitential tears.
~ Frederick W. Faber (KOTH, p. 107)

Affirmation for the Day
And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isa. 6.3).

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
O Lord, with the burning ones who stand in your presence, today we cry, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

For Your Weekly Journey

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Sovereignty of God, Romans 11.33-36

Book Reading
Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Special Church Year Services
Reformation Day: Saturday, October 31, 2020

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