March 26, 2018
Isaiah 42:1-9…“He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.” vss. 2-3
As Israel took stock of its situation in Babylon–their land of exile–the prophet reminded them of their calling. Using the image of a Suffering Servant, he says that they have a mission to all people and to all nations. They will not be a dominating power, one that seeks to exercise control by force of arms or coercion. Instead, they will bring forth justice in quiet, humble, and gentle ways, by loving kindness and walking humbly with the Lord. It’s that mission that became incarnate in Jesus and that continues in the Church, a calling that transcends the bigotry and narrow thinking of national religions and that encompasses people of faith from every corner of the globe. How sad it is then to see religious folks blithely discard that commission while endorsing narrow political agendas. In the last century, we’ve seen millions of Christians waving the banners of exclusion and bigotry, even endorsing the legitimacy of war and torture in achieving parochial national goals. In that context, it’s a blessing to see people of faith returning to the simple truths of Isaiah and Jesus and working on behalf of justice for all peoples. The hope of the world lies not with bombastic bullying leaders, but with quiet gentle servant leaders with a heart for the poor and the oppressed.
Thought for the Day: What is a national religion?