Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, and now facing the growing climate of bigotry and hatred I see all around me, these verses in Isaiah just don’t sit right with me … and so I am forced to confront them and see what they are saying to me this Lent, and for my work in spreading the Gospel.
Isaiah, relaying God’s words, speaks of the beloved servant who will bring forth justice. “Bring forth Justice!” — that’s pretty impressive, and calls to mind activism, resistance, and perhaps even armed conflict. Yet the prophet goes on to tell us the servant will accomplish this quietly, humbly, gently, faithfully, and with endurance. Very much the opposite of what I “feel” are the right actions.
We associate these verses with the Christ, and as such I am faced with my call to act as Christ. Quite frankly I have a hard time with this. I get hurt; I get angry; I want to fight and retaliate. But that’s not how I am called to act. I am called to not cry out, not bruise the tender, not quench the barely flickering flame, and to pursue this “gentle action” with strength and endurance.
This was Jesus’ journey to the cross. He was the gentle, beloved servant that through his quiet strength brings forth justice, and I am called this holy season to follow in his footsteps. “Mercifully grant that I, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace.”