And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of God's glory." - Isaiah 6:3
"Mommy." My son's voice wavered urgently in my ear, "Mommy, there's a monster under my bed… and Jesus is in my closet!"
I meant well when I talked to my three-year-old about Jesus being always near, but like many of my good intentions in those early days of parenting, our little pre-bedtime chat did not have quite the effect I had hoped it would. Now instead of a Friend to guide and comfort him, my son had a Nightmare in his closet.
We got rid of the monsters with a broom, sweeping them out from under the bed and then out the door, my little one shouting in his high, sweet voice, "Get out! Get out and don't come back!" What to do with Jesus-in-the-closet was trickier. After all, unlike the monsters under the bed, Jesus is not just in the closet, but out of the closet, too. Jesus was everywhere! Eventually, as my son grew up a bit, this stopped being such a scary idea.
If the whole earth is full of God's glory, then there's no sweeping God out the door. If the whole earth is full of God's glory, then sometimes God's presence can be scary or frustrating or at least inconvenient. If the whole earth is full of God's glory, however, then God is available to help us through those scary or frustrating or inconvenient times. If the whole earth is full of God's glory, then maybe eventually we will grow up enough that the scary things will stop seeming so scary. And on that wonderful day we will shout one to another in high, sweet voices, "Holy, holy, holy!"
Holy, holy, holy God! We rejoice that the whole world is full of your glory! Help us to know your overarching presence as a gift, in the scary times as well as the joyful ones. Amen.
Jennifer Garrison Brownell is the Senior Pastor at Hillsdale Community Church – United Church of Christ in Portland, OR and the author of the forthcoming book, Swim, Ride, Run, Breathe: How I Lost a Triathlon and Caught My Breath.