The Church turns to the "Suffering Servant Songs" from the Prophet Isaiah as it enters into the holiest of weeks. These four songs or poems were written about Israel itself by the Hebrew prophet, but Christians have come to see in them a proleptic view of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He has become for us the paragon of what it means to be a suffering servant.
Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, 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, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching. Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spreads out the earth with its crops, who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it: I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. (Isaiah 42:1-7)
It is not difficult to understand how we have come to identify Jesus as the suffering servant. He did suffer silently. He also opened the eyes of the blind, released the man from the prison of his sins and promised him paradise, and brought light to those in darkness. However, as I read this passage this morning, I tried to imagine living in a country that fit this description remembering that it was really written about the nation of Israel. How different it would be if as a country we did not shout, but rather listened! How wonderful to live in a country that saw itself as having been called for the victory of justice – justice for all rather than just for a few. The United States has been called as the city on a hill that sheds light on the rest of the world. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves whether that light hasn't grown a little dim as the years have passed.
Our Lenten journey is drawing to a close. Like Moses of old, we have been asked to climb God's holy mountain. The journey is not over. We continue to climb so that we may see the face of our God.