These words should sound familiar. The sanctus we sing following the great thanksgiving and proper preface of the communion liturgy is based on these words. In Isaiah’s vision, they are the words sung by the seraphs as they worship the Lord sitting on a throne. Isaiah is amazed that he, an unclean man, has been permitted to see the Lord. Isaiah’s presence among these seraphs and before the Lord of hosts draws us into the transcendence of God; it is an otherworldly experience.
When we gather for worship and sing these words together as congregations, it is not always easy to remember they connect us to the heavenly hosts worshipping God before the throne. Sometimes we just feel like people standing in a box-like building, singing old and tired songs. The transcendence of Isaiah’s vision is not easy to conjure up within us.
And yet, when we gather for worship and when these songs cross our lips, we are joined to that chorus of heavenly hosts. We become part of the transcendent body of Christ always worshipping God. We are, indeed, standing before the throne of the Lord.
Lord of hosts, like Isaiah, we give you thanks that you permit us to see your glory. Amen. — EP