The First Reading is Isaiah 50:4-9.
“The Lord God has given me…the Lord God has opened…the Lord God helps…the Lord God who helps…” These phrases in our first reading today is the key to this text. The writer is announcing that God has acted, giving them gifts and help. Whatever work the speaker is doing is because God is acting through them.
Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, writes that these verses seem out of place. They don’t fit with the words that come before. “It is as though these verses provide a reflective interlude conceding the urgent, context vocation of the servant of [God], who is to bring Israel home from exile.” This interlude is rooted in the “utter reliability of [God.]” The speaker in the text is called the servant and they are struggling. The servant is facing trials and fights while living out their faith. There are times the servant wants to be silent, to hide, and pretend to not be a disciple of God. But, even during those times, God is enough. God will prevail. In the end, God’s kingdom will come. The servant proclaims they will not give up their relationship with God because God is always reliable.
So who is this servant? As Christians, we see our Lord Jesus Christ in these words. We see in his story God’s reliability. This interlude is God’s interlude into our world as Jesus who came to teach, heal, love, and overcome death on the Cross. This interlude is Jesus saying God is enough.
This interlude in Isaiah can also represent our ned for interludes in our lives. Many times, during our own struggles, we need to breathe. We need to take a moment to step away, to reflect, and to remember who we are. We are disciples of Jesus, even when we fail to love others like we should. We are children of God, even when we fail to recognize God around us. We are loved, even when we don’t feel loved.
God’s love comes from God’s claim on us, a claim that we don’t earn on our own. Just as God risked living a human life, God takes a risk on each of us by claiming us as God’s. God’s claim on us is utterly reliable. God has gripped us tight. So, since we are loved, how do we share God’s reliable love to our neighbors, friends, family, and even to ourselves?
Each week, I write a reflection on one of our scripture readings for the week. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship Bulletin for 9/13/2015.