Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Grace of a Servant

A close-up of the background
figure in Michelangelo's
Isaiah fresco

The Servant of the Lord

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope”
(Isaiah 42:1-4 NIV).

It is evident that only a servant can be a savior for the essential ingredient in both is humility. And, in the unrelieved landscape of selfishness and prejudice that can afflict humanity, the grace of humility is the only balm. As Saint Paul said, such a conclusion is utter foolishness to those infatuated with earthly power, but becomes abundantly obvious to those seeking enlightenment, divine redemption, and practical good. With the flourishing of democracy (and demise of regnant rule by a few) a way is open for servanthood to be broadly based providing significant roles of responsibility for everyone, even making service an instituted commodity. Lurking in the shadows to poison this well of promise is our long-identified enemy—hubris. When it commandeers democracy, the grotesqueness of results can easily equal if not exceed other social/political arrangements. It brings to mind the Scripture (which applies equally to persons and nations):

When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first” (Luke 11:24-26 NIV).

The challenge as always is to influence human perception opening it to the vistas of divine will. The crucifixion of Jesus makes it for all time clear that this is not an easy task. Nevertheless up to this point there has proven to be no substitute for amazing grace implemented by the disciplines of sacrificial love. (Is there—can there—be any other ethical way to transform a person's or nation's perception of preferred governing principles?) The hope is that—for individuals and nations—the destructive passions of the human mind can be subdued before time runs out.

Print Page