the suffering servant

I am continually intruiged by (I, II, III, or Deutero – I can’t remember) Isaiah’s treatment of the suffering servant. In Year B Proper 24 we have a wonderful chunk of prophecy regarding this servant’s deep suffering. Back in my more evangelical days I could tell you how many prophecies from Isaiah 53 Jesus fulfilled in his life, death, and resurrection, but alas that has gone the way of the Greek alphabet. What strikes me more these days is the richness of Isaiah’s language and how vivid the suffering is in my mind. I think this is partly because of The Passion of the Christ, but even moreso it is having seen suffering first hand in the slums of San Jose, Costa Rica. The suffering described by Isaiah, the suffering experienced by Jesus is the same suffering lived out by the poor and oppressed in the world. So many are silent due to hunger, infirmity, and pain, while others are silent due to threat of jail, torture, or death.

What does it mean to be a Christian in this world of suffering? There must be more than telling those who suffer to “cheer up, Jesus suffered worse.” There must be a way to help those who are silent, not by choice, to speak up and be heard. It just seems so hard, like there is so much to do, and I’m just one person. Though there again I’m reminded of the people I met in Costa Rica. Each person was just one person, but with vision, with faith, and with community they were doing great things.

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