“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations…” (Isaiah 42:6)
Called to Lead: “The servant who is the subject of this verse is unidentified. While their identity is unclear, the mission to which they are called is explicit. The servant is called and sent by God for a purpose, in the tradition of the prophetic literature. Unlike other places in the prophetic narratives, where an individual is called and given a mandate, this servant isn’t named. While unnamed, the servant is chosen by God. Even without naming the servant, there is the declaration that ‘I have put my spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations’. The presence of the Spirit of God is assured for the daunting task that lies ahead. The call is for justice. The servant is to go and teach the people; in doing so, they will bring about justice to all the nations. The servant is called to leadership. Called to teach. Called in righteousness. Our world seems devoid of justice and righteousness. Inequities abound, as seen in the widening wealth gaps, increasing poverty, lack of education, violence, hunger, and social ills that plague so many. Justice can be achieved to restore righteousness I the land, paving the way for new things to spring forth when the call to leadership is answered. God continues to call servants to bring about justice in this day. Some say the servant is a person; others say the servant is a nation. In either case, the Spirit of God is upon the servant, coaxing, challenging, and bringing forth justice.”
Ponder: Where do you think the servant is in this passage? Why do you think they are unnamed? How can the servant go about bringing justice to a world that is devoid of it? What injustices are you directly affected by? How can you answer God’s call in these particular situations?
Pray: God, you call us to bring justice to a world filled with inequities; you call us to be a moral compass pointing to what is just, righteous, pure, and true. Help us to accept the daunting task before us and to avoid the pull of greed, corruption, and violence. Amen.
Karen Georgia A. Thompson
(Minister, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, United Church of Christ)
(The Lenten readings are in paraphrase form and adapted from reflections written by various authors in “Everyday Skeptics” edited by Alydia Smith)