Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
There was good and bad to growing up in a small southern town in the 1960’s. One thing that made a positive impression on me was the deep spirituality of the music that rang out from the African Methodist Episcopal church. When I read the “Suffering Servant” passage from Isaiah, I recalled the old Gospel hymn “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone.”
Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for everyone,
And there’s a cross for me.
I’m struck by the fact that Christ knew he was going to be persecuted, but he continued his ministry of healing and teaching while consciously walking toward his own crucifixion. During Lent I try to remove some of the complexities of my life through fasting and prayer. My spirit deepens when I’m consistent with that discipline; when I’m not, and I’m not always, I feel the weight of my cross. For me, the foundation of our story is that the cross necessarily comes before the resurrection. Light can’t shine into a tomb that isn’t first dark. This gives meaning and hope to my suffering.
Isaiah says, “…upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.” There’s the good news.
And the old Gospel song echoes,
The consecrated cross I’ll bear
Till death shall set me free;
And then go home my crown to wear,
For there’s a crown for me.
A holy Lent to all.