Monday in Holy Week, Year B
29 March 2021
Reading: Isaiah 42: 1-9
Scripture: ““Here is my servant, whom I uphold…” (Isaiah 42: 1)
Reflection: The passage we read today, is one of four poems in Isaiah, known as, “Servant Songs” or “The Songs of the Suffering Servant”. From them we learn that Israel is the “servant” of God; the prophet is also the “servant” of God and, by extension, we each are called to be a “servant” of God. Later, in Scripture, we hear Jesus describe Himself as a servant. But. Jesus isn’t any ordinary servant. He is ‘The Servant’. The Lord calls Him, ‘My Servant’ and because Jesus said that the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, He is ‘Our Servant”.
It is Isaiah, however, who speaks of the role and character of the Servant. It is he who tells us that God placed upon His Servant, His life-giving, life-restoring and life-renewing Spirit and that His mission is to be a light to all nations, to bring justice and redemption to all people – not just people of Israel, but all people. The One who does God’s work will be unlike any other deliverer; “He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard on the street; a bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not quench. He will faithfully bring forth justice.”
God’s Servant will not preach fire and wrath with a winnowing fork in His hand. He will come as a victim, not a conqueror. The Sovereign One comes in the power of sacrificial servanthood, a quiet, patient witness who will draw people unto God. God’s Servant comes, not to punish those who are captive, but to release them; not to destroy those who are broken, but to heal them; not to punish those who fail to live out right relationships with God and each other, but to empower them to do so. He will teach and demonstrate for and to us, what such a life looks like. He is the Master after whom we model our lives. He will serve with humility, but He is not weak. Neither will He become discouraged but He will persevere until He completes what He came to do.
What about you? Do you see yourself as a Servant of God? Are you carrying out your responsibility or are you afraid to step out of your comfort zone, as our Saviour did, to show love and work to bring justice, mercy and hope to those who need it most? Are you willing to make a personal sacrifice to do His work or are you still caught up in the ways of the world, afraid to let go of your pride, fearful of what others might think or say to or about you? Or, do you consider some jobs or tasks too menial to be assigned to or carried out by someone in your position, with your title, qualifications and skills set?
If you have any doubt that Servanthood is not about position and title and skill, but all about attitude, join me on Thursday, as we relive our Lord sharing a last meal with His disciples. We all know the story but, we also know that washing others’ feet will probably never become the norm or be in vogue for more than one night. But, on that night, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, even the feet of Judas Iscariot, who would later betray Him.
Why did Jesus do this? He saw a need, seized the initiative and filled that need. The disciples weren’t especially deserving and He wasn’t expressing gratitude. He was doling out grace. Love made Him serve them. Here was a servant leader willing to partake in an act of humility and service. He knew who He was. He was secure enough in Himself, and that allowed Him to serve others, to kneel on the floor and wash their feet. He had nothing to prove, nothing to hide, nothing to lose. And, in the words of a friend, “The insecure are into titles. The secure are into towels.“
Are you wondering if you could do likewise? Of course! God has promised that, just as He invested His Servant with His creative and energizing Spirit, He will give us the same power to take up the various forms of servanthood to which each of us has been called.
One caution though…sometimes, we become so used to serving others, we find it difficult to relax and receive help from others. Just as Jesus had to ask Peter to sit and allow Him to serve him, so we must learn to let others serve us. If or when that happens, may the following words from Hymn # 304 in the CPWI Hymnal, serve as your mantra, “Brother, Sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too”
Meditation: The Saviour of the World… the Greatest Servant of all time.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, come, renew us, pilgrims on a journey, companions on the road; come Yourself to make us live through Your loving presence, and through the gifts You give, until we have seen the journey through. Amen.
The St. Jude’s Writers
St. Jude’s Church
Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
29 March 2021