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Sermon of the week: Adopted children
by Rev, Geraldine R. Huckman, pastor, First Christian Church
Sep 01, 2013 | 10 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the year King Uzziah died, 742 years before Jesus and 84 years before Nebuchadnezzar carried Jews off to Babylon, Isaiah went down to the temple. He washed himself and went all the way inside to the Holy of Holies where the ark was kept. In those days the ark was considered the footstool of God’s throne. In that place God appeared every autumn as if to be enthroned and ensure the divine rule for the coming year. Those present could barely see through the smoke to the flames on the high altar, could hear the temple singers and almost – just almost – see God on the throne. But no one had ever seen the appearance of God as clearly as Isaiah saw it that particular day.

Isaiah’s gaze penetrated through the thick smoke and powerful incense until he had a vision of God, the Almighty King, sitting high and exalted over all the cosmos and creatures. The singing became heavenly, “Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh! Holy and free is God.” The glory of God fills the temple and flows out to embrace the whole earth. “Holy and free is God!” The glory of God overflows from the earth to embrace all the cosmos and every created thing. It is as if the very body of God contains the temple, the earth, the cosmos and all that is. Nothing is large enough to be the throne of God.

Isaiah is not looking beyond the earth into some other world. This is a prophetic vision deep into the divine reality in which earth, heaven and the powerful glory of God’s divine being come together in an inseparable union. It is a vision of the Divine Presence always free and present wherever God chooses to be. Isaiah is at once fascinated and terrified of this Divine Presence and the power of its bright light everywhere. It is pure holiness which has the power to destroy all that is not holy and pure with one spark of glory.

Isaiah is horrified and cries out, “Woe is me. I must fall silent for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Suddenly, divine power flies toward the lips of Isaiah on the wings of a Seraph. All impurity on his lips is burned away. Sin is gone, and Isaiah felt it leave. He cries out again telling us his story, “I heard the voice of the Lord of All saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ I answered, “I am ready, send me!’” Then God told Isaiah his job would last until there is nothing left of this people but a stump. “How long?” wailed Isaiah! And God being God spoke the word that brings resurrection living, “But in that stump will be the holy seeds, the descendants put aside for my own use. In that stump will be found the children whom I will call Holy and made clean by my divine power, my Qadosh.” The seeds of God’s holiness will be spared and will be sent out to reclaim the earth for the presence of God. And, it was so.

Paul, the apostle, knows Isaiah’s call and God’s response. Paul has been called by God in a scene equal to Isaiah’s amazing day in the presence of God’s Qadosh. Out of his Jewish memory and his own experience he writes this, “So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the rules and principles of the fleshly world, which is not holy. See, if you live according to the those ways you will die; but if by the Qadosh you put down the deeds of the body then you will not be able to behave in a hurtful way. You will not damage life, and you will live. For all who are led by the Qadosh of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption.” When we cry “Father,” it is that very spirit participating within our spirits, partnering with us in life that tells everyone who sees us that we are children of God. We carry the holy seed of God’s Holy Spirit within us as part of what creates life for us moment by moment. Our future is born by those holy seeds of new life. By these seeds we are adopted by God who gives us this life.

So, if we are God’’s children, then we are God’s heirs with Christ. The inheritance of God’s children is possession of salvation. Heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, we are family. Extended, adopted, however defined, we are brothers and sisters with Christ. All of us. All of humanity. All of creation. The gift of God’s presence embraces us all.
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