“Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” – Isaiah 6:5 (NLT)
My wife thought it an odd thing that I would make a decision to wanna go to Montreal, Quebec for a part of our vacation. I got my passport after years of not being allowed to get it and when I got it all I said was Montreal. The funny thing is, I’m not even too sure why Montreal was comin’ outta my mouth. So, as we were researching what to do in Montreal, I saw that both the Notre-Dame Basilica and Chapel were on the map and I immediately said I wanted to visit the two sights. I guess as a former Roman-Catholic, my curiosity peaked when I thought of what I would see in both locations and how I would run it in through my Protestant mind. I was far from prepared for what would actually happen.
We got our tickets and made our way into Basilique, Norte-Dame de Montréal. At first, there was a darkness, but as I turned to face the altar my mouth dropped wide open and all I could do was…cry. I wasn’t too aware of my crying until I felt a steady stream of water on both of my cheeks. What I saw in front of me blew me outta the water. I have never seen something so magnificent in my 59 years on the planet. I lost my wife for a little while (because she didn’t know that I was frozen in this moment), but when we got back in each other’s company, she could see I was captivated as I said “As a former Roman Catholic, this is just too much to handle at once. This place is beautiful.”
It wasn’t until I actually made my way to the front, to the altar, surrounded by this incredible sight, that I mumbled “I’m a man with filthy lips, I live among filthy people, I don’t deserve to be in Your presence, Please God what am I to do?” And in that moment, I dropped down to one knee, made the sign of The Cross on myself and found my way to a seat to continue crying. Anyone who really knows me already knows that I very rarely cry but, for the time I was in the Basilica, I could not stop.
“Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for Us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” And He said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’” — Isaiah 6:8-9
No one is too sure of Isaiah’s original calling but he is the literary genius among all the prophets of Israel. He was a well-off man and there were many sides to him. He was a writer, a statesman, a reformer, a teacher, a theologian and a prophet who could see further into the future than his contemporaries. Isaiah 53 comes to mind. Apparently, he told it like it was but his rebukes were considered to be truly optimistic. So, it boggles my mind that Manasseh, a one-time evil king of Israel, would have Isaiah sawn in half. But none the matter on how much evil people hated this guy he stayed true to his God and kept plugging away at his ministry.
Like Isaiah, I got this problem of telling it like it is and I probably don’t this in the same style of Isaiah. But unlike Isaiah, I find it harder and harder to maintain what I think is my call to ministry. I get discouraged when disappointments pile up and then I may tell like it like it is but there is very little, if any, salt in my speech. The light that I shine sometimes appears dimmer than it should and one occasion, I chase people outta my city on the hill.
Then God tells me to go to Montreal…great, my French is iffy but if He says so. Then Norte-Dame happened and here I am, a filthy rag standing in Basilica that was, at one time, so full of folks who revere El Elyon so much that every detail in this church screams EL ELYON. I drop on my knee, bow my head and plea for Him to cleanse me. I had a peace that I can’t explain come over me…and it was okay to cry.
I don’t know where you stand with Him today but if you are like me, take your filthy rag of an existence, go stand in His presence and ask for His peace. I know that I am a filthy rag when I stand on my own, but until you are able to bow your knee in filth that you live in and admit, like Isaiah admitted, that you are doomed because of your filth. It’s not as bad as it could be, after all, there is a hell to stay out of. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, a father, who has an education in Biblical Doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy 2003. He also has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org