A Steadfast Pivot
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called. – Isaiah 6:4a (NRSV)
Everything had come unglued for Israel. Long-time King Uzziah had died, his sons were at one another’s throats, and an enemy army was at the border. Perhaps because of the tumult swirling around him, Isaiah had sought refuge in the temple. Yet instead of peace and quiet, he had a vision as fearsome and uncertain as the world outside.
He saw God Almighty on a throne as smoke lifted to the rafters and six-winged seraphim flew singing, “Holy, holy, holy.” Actually they were probably hissing, not singing. According to the Harper Collins Study Bible, seraphim weren’t the angelic figures I’d always pictured, but instead “winged cobras.” Yikes!
In his terrifying weird vision, Isaiah also recognized something common and ordinary: a door pivot. It’s the basic hinge in a threshold that lets a door turn in different directions—like the neck’s pivot joint that lets the head move up and down, back and forth, or the knee pivot joint that a basketball player uses to spin around with one foot on the floor.
We use the verb “pivot” a lot these days. Isaiah used it as a noun when recalling his vision. He remembered the “pivots on the threshold shook.” He also remembered they didn’t break. No doors flew off their pivots. They held fast and held the temple together.
That’s what pivots do—hold fast. Their steadfastness keeps us from falling over or falling apart. Pivots let us change direction when the world changes around us. A steadfast pivot lets us adjust to new realities, yet still maintain our center.
I wonder what the synonyms are for pivot. I wonder if “God” is one.
You are the pivot point of our lives, O God. Help us remember that. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Parts 1 and 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.