Psalms 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
"Here is my servantÖ(who) shall bring forth justice to the nations." Isaiah 42:1
Todayís reading from Isaiah is especially poignant at this time.
Who is Godís servant who shall bring forth justice to the nations? Is Isaiah speaking of himself and/or the people of Israel? Are we to interpret this passage from a Christian perspective, thus explaining the passage as heralding the Christ? Or can we/do we each read the passage and pray that it might be a call to each of us individually and/or collectively to bring Godís justice to the nations of our time?
There seems to be much talk of bringing justice into the world...the anti-war protestors raise the question of whether or not the present war with Iraq is a just war; supporters of the war with Iraq view it as a just act in waging war to liberate the Iraqi people. Who is right or wrong?
And what is this justice which shall be brought to the nations? Is it fairness? validity? impartiality? evenhandedness? honesty? integrity? These are some synonyms for justice. Who determines whether the justice of the nations being sought is truly of God?
Isaiah includes some criteria for the servant of God... "Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break and a smoldering wick he shall not quench." Such a person does not push his/her own agenda, but rather seeks Godís lead. "I formed you, and set you as a covenant (pledge) of the people, a light for the nations,....to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and those in dungeons out of the darkness."
Again, people from both sides of the war issue insist that they want what is just...but who witnesses to Isaiahís words? Of course, it may be too difficult to decipher the present...(or at least too difficult to listen to one another to see if there is a way to work for justice together.)
We do know that Jesus was called to be Godís servant...to be Godís presence among the people. But did the people recognize Jesusí call? In todayís gospel those who dined in Bethany with Lazarus, Martha and Mary recognized Jesus as Godís presence. Many people came to the house to see Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Mary anointed Jesus' feet with costly, perfumed oil. Jesus stopped Judasí rebuke of Maryís action, saying, "...You will always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."
I wonder if we do have Godís spirit/Jesus in our midst today. Have we lost our sense of Godís servant-Jesus, who was to bring forth justice in the nations? How shall we find the true spirit of Godís servant in our world today?
Perhaps as we journey through Holy Week, we can pray todayís psalm, "God, you are my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?...I believe that I shall see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living! Wait for Yahweh; be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for God!"
Can I/we take time to wait for God...to realize that we have lost our sense of Godís presence in our midst? Perhaps if we stop trying to be self-righteous, regardless of how we understand the war, and really turn to God in our midst, we may regain a sense of Godís presence, and the real spirit of Jesus in our midst.
My prayer during Holy Week is that we will take courage...yes, we will wait for God in our midst. And may we truly be servants of God - working with the world community and the people of Iraq to bring Godís true sense of justice to the nations - to Godís creation.
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