Prepare to Listen. As you light the 1st purple candle hear the Lord saying to you: See, I am making all things new.
Prayerfully Read Isaiah 42:1-4
Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
Servants are among the least in any society. Yet God introduces the one to bring newness as “my servant.” The new he brings is justice for the world. Three times, claims Isaiah, the Servant will bring forth justice and will not give up until it’s firmly established on earth. Justice, in the biblical tradition “is the reordering of social life and social power so that the weak may live a life of dignity, security, and well-being.” Justice is God’s ultimate goal for all creation.
Isaiah’s image of a servant isn’t attractive to many today. We’d prefer an image of a conquering warrior. Someone to fight and win battles against our enemies. That’s the savior we want. Isaiah’s servant isn’t even close. His way isn’t flashy, loud, powerful, or even obvious. He doesn’t draw attention to himself. We’ll know him by his tender treatment of the vulnerable, ‘bruised reeds’ and ‘dim wicks.’
But here’s the thing, if, as we claim, this servant is Jesus, we too must behave like this. We’re the ones who must focus on justice, reordering social life and power in ways that benefit the bruised reeds and dim wicks, that is, the poor, the oppressed, the alien, the suffering in our society. And we’re to do it in ways that aren’t flashy, loud, violent. We’re to join God in establishing justice in the earth now, not in some distant future. Now we can help Jesus give justice to all creation.
What offended/delighted you in this passage? Who are the vulnerable in your community and how might you be able to pursue justice for them?
Respond to Jesus
Jesus, God’s Servant, help me be more like you and make justice for the poor, the oppressed, the weak in society my first concern. Amen.
Live obediently as a servant who consistently and patiently pursues justice in Jesus’ unobtrusive way.
 Walter Brueggemann. Isaiah 40-66. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 1998, p. 42.