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Archive for August 25th, 2013


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Isaiah-scroll1[1]Isaiah 51 & 52

Servants

In Isaiah 51 we find a reason to rejoice when life overwhelms us.  When we are fear-filled, we must remember to ask God’s grace, patience, and wisdom so that we might discern God’s hand in all that happens to and around us.  We lean on our brother Jesus whose has broad and strong shoulders.  And we abide in the Spirit who brings us comfort and understanding.  Remembering that God knows all and keeps the promises made to us, we ask not only for God’s grace in our own lives but we also ask intercessory prayers for those who do us damage.  Through all of our turmoil, God remains our servant, tending to our needs and sorting through our wishes to grant those that make us stronger in body, mind and soul.

In Chapter 52 we find the fourth and final of Isaiah’s Servant Songs.  It begins . . . See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.  Even as many were amazed at him – so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals – so shall he startle nations.

The true, faithful servant is perfect not in that he or she has escaped life unscathed, but in that they strive to reach the potential God has placed in them.  Others are startled because the true, faithful servant wears the scars of existence and lives along the margins of life.  God’s servant does not seek comfort in the physical world, nor does this one stay long in the heady turmoil of power, fame and wealth.  The true, faithful servant meets God’s mercy and grace through the pain and suffering of life.  The true, faithful servant knows that he or she finds serenity in God and not in the superficial satisfaction of grudges long held or of worldly battles soundly won.  This is the mystery Isaiah lays out for us and it is the mystery we see in Christ.  It is the mystery to which we are called for we are created to be servants to one another.  We are created as a servant people.

Mary Magdalene in the cemetery garden and the apostles on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Christ in the early moments of his return . . . so transformed was he . . . so momentous was the transition from one life to the next.  So it is reasonable that we do not at first see Christ standing before us . . . calling us to service.  Yet it is well worth our effort to discern the servant Jesus and to strive to serve as he does.

This one who is God himself comes to meet us through the woe of our living . . . and to convert this woe to joy.

This one who is God himself comes to meet us through the miseries of our existence . . . and to transform them into songs of celebration.

This one who is God himself graces us with his healing touch . . . and so he asks that we also serve.

This one who is God himself knows the intimate detail of our suffering . . . and so he accompanies us as we learn to be servants of God.

This one who is God himself loves us so much that he will go wherever we are . . . sit with us no matter who we are . . . walk with us no matter the burdens of the journey . . . in order to serve us even as we serve.  This love knows no limit.  This love leads us out of our sorrow.  This love leads us to joy.

Servant work is difficult, frustrating and humbling.  Servant work is a gift.  Servant work is the only work truly worth doing.  Servant work is the work of Christ.  Let us spend some time today with this Servant Song, and let us practice it so well that when we feel the weight of our load on our tired shoulders, we will know how to give full voice to the melody and words of the Servant Song.

Adapted from reflections written on February 13, 2007 and January 14, 2010.

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