The Servant Songs

One part of the Bible that has long held me in particular awe and fascination is the prophetic Servant Songs of Isaiah (Isaiah 42:1-7, Isaiah 49:1-6, Isaiah 50:4-9, Isaiah 52:13-53:12), describing Christ the Suffering Servant. Like singing in tongues, they appear to be a projection of the uncreated into the world of creation, from outside -- or scar-like slits cut in the pumpkin-lantern surface of reality, allowing the hyper-real light to shine through from the Centre.

Just as the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40 asks Philip: ``Of whom does the prophet speak?'' we can ask that question, for we see at the same time Christ in the moment of the triumph of letting the immortal die, and ourselves in our darkest hours. What person with sensitivity to life, with a sharp living conscience, has not felt themselves at times to be ``marred, disfigured until they were no longer recognizable as human''?

There is also an enigma to be pondered -- how can so dynamic a leader as Christ the Messiah ``not break the bruised reed''? And how can He in whose image we are made (to the fulness of whose stature we strive) have been ``marred more than any of the sons of men''?

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John C. G. Sturdy

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