Friday, April 11, 2014

Breaking the Silence of the Lambs

Isaiah 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8  By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. 9  They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

This imagery, also found in Psalms 44:12, 23 and Jeremiah 11:19, speaks of a lamb led to the slaughter, unjustly removed from “the land of the living”. As mentioned yesterday: Many Christians read this retroactively and discover a description of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was ‘led to the slaughter’; there are others who see the ‘servant’ in Isaiah 53 as a poetic symbol to describe the community of God’s people.[1] Either way, this is a story of injustice, silent suffering, and death. Nothing in this is pleasant.

And yet ... this is the experience of many people in our communities. There are people who suffer in silence: women who struggle within oppressive relationships and children who live silently with abuse. There are also the perpetrators of abuse, who are trapped by their cycle of cruel expression and remorse.

Lent is an opportunity to use fasting and abstinence as a (very small) way of understanding those who suffer. Lent can be an opportunity to commit our lives to breaking the silence of the suffering. [2]

I think it's 'cause I'm clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it's because i'm crazy
I try not to act too proud
They only hit until you cry
And after that you don't ask why
You just don't argue anymore

Palm Sunday
The Wounds and Sorrows of Ministry
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Rueben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 136.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day

[1] Beginning with chapter 41, the equating of God’s Servant with the nation of Israel is made nine times by the prophet Isaiah,
[2] See also:

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