Isaiah 53:1-6 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53 is the fourth of the four “Servant Songs.” Many Christians read this passage retroactively (through the filter of our experience of Jesus) and discover a description of Jesus who was unjustly crucified; on the other hand Jewish people see the “servant” in Isaiah 53 as a poetic symbol to describe the community of God’s people.
Fasting during Lent can sensitize us to those people who struggle to survive the day.
Today is Human Rights day in South Africa. Pray for eyes to see the abuse, and a heart that is willing to defend the human dignity of all people.
Prayer of Saint Francis of AssisiLord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
Scripture reading taken from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.136