Is 6:1-2a, 3-8
1 Cor 15:1-11
Lk 5:1-11

Burning Coals
The other day at work a co-worker took a short cut through our hospice team room. We have a team room which has two doors and is the shortest route from the back of the building to the front of the building. As a result there is a lot of foot traffic and that can be irritating when I am trying to do paper work. Well anyway…I was irritated that this co-worker didn’t even apologize for cutting through, so I made what I thought was a teasing remark and she had a very strong retort. (Later I admitted to myself and my colleague that my remark had less humor and more anger to it.)

I felt crummy about my remark and terrible about our interaction. I was also suffering from some self righteousness about the whole ordeal so it took a few minutes and a trip to the bathroom before I was ready to follow up on our previous exchange. However, life is short and the office is small and…so I went to talk to this co-worker. To make a long story a little shorter, we ended up both apologizing to the other for the exchange explaining how both of us experienced the interchange. Each of us thanked the other for being willing to talk about it. The air cleared and I think both of us felt better.

When I heard the first reading from Isaiah on Sunday the 4th of February, I was touched by the image of hot coals used to purify the prophet’s lips. I have become more aware lately of the awesome beauty and bigness of God’s creation and praise often rolls off my lips. However, I seldom think about whether my lips are clean enough to speak those praises. I don’t often think about how I have used my breath to form words and conversations that may or may not be life giving. The experience at the office the other day is such a great example of how easy it is to have “bad breath”.

Later when I left the office to visit patients, I felt better prepared to say, “Send me Lord, here I am.” Thank God for the burning coal that purified my lips and refocused my heart.