Here I Am, Lord

By Jennifer Woodruff Tait

May 22, 2024

Scripture — Isaiah 6:1-8 (NRSV)

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they 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 pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”


Peter’s sermon here is a lot shorter than some later examples of testimony in Acts. But it follows the same basic outline: God has acted in history, and God has acted most significantly in history through the raising of Jesus of Nazareth, who was killed by human hands. Because God has acted in this way, everything is different; and because God has acted in this way, we need to respond.


This coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday, which I’ve sometimes heard described as the only major church feast day which celebrates a doctrine. (This does depend on your branch of Christianity; Lutherans would probably want to throw in Reformation Day and Roman Catholics some of the Marian feasts.)

The word “Trinity” doesn’t appear in the Bible, but the actions of the Trinity do, and as we go through the three-year lectionary cycle, the readings which are suggested each year are those that describe that action, and speak of the persons of the Trinity, in particularly memorable ways.

In the case of this year’s Old Testament lesson from Isaiah, the focus is on God’s unity in majesty. (The collect for the feast of Trinity, which will be my suggested prayer for tomorrow, reminds us that we are called to both “acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty. . .worship the Unity.”)

As modern Christians speaking of the act of Christ’s redemption, we often dwell on the fact that God is Three in One in order to explain how Jesus is God and saves us. For the prophet Isaiah, dwelling hundreds of years before the birth of Christ and surrounded by a pagan culture worshipping many gods, what would have been most important—and what would have been brought home to him forcefully by this vision—was that God is One. (I do think, if you look, you can find hints about the work of all three Persons of the Trinity in this passage, but I don’t think it’s the main point.)

When he is faced with the majesty of that One God, two things happen to Isaiah. The first is that he recognizes how small and sinful he is, crying out “Woe is me!” The second is that God calls him despite his sinfulness. A seraph attending the Lord places a coal on his lips—a coal that has been on the altar before the presence of the Lord of Hosts—and Isaiah’s sin is purged and he is able to respond in faith to the mission the Lord sets forth. This Old Testament passage is often read at ordinations for those ministering within the church, and there are good reasons for that; but, honestly, we could read it at any kind of consecration or commissioning, because any of us could find ourselves in this story. In fact, where are you? How are you responding to the Triune God in this moment? Are you throwing yourself before the throne in worship? Are you experiencing the cleansing power of the Lord God Almighty? Are you moving out into your daily life and work, empowered to share with the world the prophetic message that God will give you? Wherever you are, you will find that the Holy One goes with you.


Answer the questions in the final paragraph of the devotion.


You’ve probably heard the song “Here I Am, Lord,” perhaps at an ordination service in your tradition. It draws inspiration from Isaiah 6. As with today’s Scripture reading, it’s just as applicable to ministry in daily life as it is to church leadership. Pray now along with the singers (the soloist here is the composer) about what God is calling you to do in response to God’s glorious majesty and redeeming grace.


(Prayer for the Mission of the Church in the Book of Common Prayer) Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: God Judges Exploitation and Marginalization (Isaiah 3ff.).

Jennifer Woodruff Tait

Editorial Coordinator

Jennifer Woodruff Tait (PhD, Duke University; MSLIS, University of Illinois; MDiv/MA Asbury Theological Seminary) is the copyeditor of and frequent contributor to Life for Leaders. She is also senior editor of

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