Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Burning Coal

The Church Fathers often interpret the "burning coal" of Isaiah 6:7 as a type of the Eucharist; for instance, it is a common allusion in Eastern liturgies that are influenced by the Liturgy of St. James, in which the priest says,

The Lord will bless us, and make us worthy with the pure touchings of our fingers to take the live coal, and place it upon the mouths of the faithful for the purification and renewal of their souls and bodies, now and always.

There are many other examples. So I've been thinking about how one would interpret the vision of Isaiah 6 if one took this seriously and held that it was a vision of the spiritual nature of the Eucharist. A few first loose thoughts about this.

THRONE AND TEMPLE: The Eucharist occurs in the presence of God (Throne) and in His Church (Temple).

SERAPHIM: Note that the Liturgy of St. James holds that the priest is serving in the Eucharist as the Seraphim before the Throne.

TRISAGION: The Eucharist expresses the Trinitarian holiness of the Lord and His holy presence among His people. The Trisagion is of course sung in Mass.

SHAKING AND SMOKE: The consecration is a massive event, in some way reaching to the foundations, and overflowing with prayer.

WOE TO ME: The faithful before the Eucharist are humbled to contrition, recognizing themselves as unholy and from an unholy people.

BURNING COAL: The Eucharist is brought to the penitent faithful. Notice that it is not brought until they recognize their unholiness and unworthiness to be before God.

TOUCH: By the Eucharist, inquity is taken away and sin is forgiven and the faithful are made holy.

VOCATION: Having received, we also receive our mission: Because of the Eucharist, we are asked to go, and having received it, we are made ready to volunteer.

GO AND TELL: And we are sent out with a message of coming judgment that will not be heard.

HOW LONG: And this will continue until judgment comes.

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