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Psalm 38; Isaiah 6: 1-13; John 7: 53-8: 11

This is a troubling passage for the commissioning of a prophet, despite the popularity of the first half of it for ordination services. Isaiah is sent to proclaim the destruction of the kingdom of Judah to people who will not comprehend God’s message. And for how long is Isaiah to do this? “Until cities lie waste.” The destruction will be like a landscape burnt over with fire. “Even if a tenth part remain in it, it will be burned again.”

Who wants to preach a message of destruction to a community that is about to be totally razed?

And yet, the promise of growth out of utter destruction is found: “The holy seed is its stump.” Out of the charred landscape will emerge new life.

The coming of Jesus Christ shows that all of our best laid plans, all the ways of the world on their own will not amount to anything. In the end, everything will be consumed, whether by the grave and worms or by the fires of destruction, real or metaphorical. All we have depends on the work of God in Christ alone.

When we say, “Here I am send me,” we allow ourselves to be the speakers of God’s hard truth that is also God’s grace. Nothing that we have ultimately is ours. All comes from God. Prepare the way of the Lord by letting go all that is destined for the fire.


O God, when you call us, give us strength
to speak your truth with grace and courage,
that your will might be done. Amen.


Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski
Duncalf-Villavaso Associate Professor of Church History
Seminary of the Southwest





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Dr. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski joined the seminary faculty in Fall 2014 following his tenure since 2005 on the faculty at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. His areas of interest include Jewish-Christian history, the history of Anglican ecclesiology, and contemporary interfaith dialogue.  He is the author of Christian Memories of the Maccabean Martyrs and is currently working on A Christian Commentary of Mishnah Avot. He has published in journals such as Anglican Theological Review and Anglican and Episcopal History.  He will teach History of Christianity I and II and offer electives in his areas of expertise. Dan and his wife Jennifer have two children.

B.A., Gordon College. M.A. and Ph.D., Boston College