In this amazing God-inspired teaching on the Suffering Servant of the Lord, composed about 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah foreshadows Christ as the way of love, the way of peace and the way to peace; inspiration echoed by St. Paul’s as in his letter to the Philippians. In both, it is made indisputably clear that the Christic path taught and lived by Jesus Christ while on earth was one of humility, self-emptying, and complete obedience to the will of the Father, and the acceptance of suffering as their essential concomitant.
In Isaiah, it is emphasised that both time and growth are necessary before those, who are appalled by the Christic process, because what it calls to and offers is the very opposite of the ‘wisdom’ and praxis of the world, are able to see the light and realize that there is no other way to authentic peace, either interiorly or exteriorly. In our broken world of the 21st century, acceptance of the Christic way is most urgent because in the blindness, confusion and wilfulness of realpolitik the human race is in imminent danger of chaos and self-destruction.
So, may we who yearn for peace reflect on what Isaiah has to say in the Fourth Song of the Servant of the Lord (Ch.53)
The Servant of the Lord
‘Many people were appalled when they saw him, (Who the gospels say is our peace, indeed the Prince of Peace)
‘There was nothing attractive about him, (or about what he said and continues to ask for, contradicted and continues to contradict the world’s violent and fickle prescriptions for ‘peace’ is what transpires to be little other than pseudo-peace)
‘Nothing that would draw us to him.
‘We despised him and rejected him;
(Peace without weapons, without recourse to the language of wrath, without the ability to threaten, to retaliate, to dominate and to pre-emptively strike, is sheer fantasy, whatever its scale).
‘He endured suffering and pain.
(Non-violence and more so, love and forgiveness of oneself and the other, and love even of the enemy demands generous self-sacrifice and courage)
No one would even look at him;
We ignored him as if he were nothing.
(The world rejects the ‘folly’ of the cross.)
‘But now many nations will marvel at him,
And kings will be speechless with amazement.
They will see and understand something
They had never known……(Isaiah 52:15)’
(The way to peace can only be by ways of peace and God’s mercy and grace)
‘I will lead my people
By roads they have never traveled.
I will turn their darkness into light. (Isaiah 42:16)
‘My thoughts,” says the Lord,
Are not like yours,
And my ways are different from yours. (Isaiah 55:8-9) (the way of peace is beyond the conventional methods of man)
‘All you that have reverence for the Lord,
And obey the words of his servant,
The path you walk may be dark indeed,
But trust in the Lord,
Rely on your God.
‘Come back to me,
I am the one who saves you. (Isaiah 50:10)
I alone am the Lord,
The only one who can save you.’ (Isaiah 43:11) (not threats, weapons, power, strategies, wealth, brilliance or oratory)
(Isaiah 52:14, 53:2-3, 52:15, 42:16, 55:8,50:10,43:11)
For those who wish to walk the paths of Christic peace, God is their saviour, their destiny and their prize. There is neither feverish desire nor need to taste as many of the world’s apparent delights as possible, lest something slips past and is missed. Their confidence flies in the face of ‘only-this-world’-liness.
Christic peace is possible, because it is not self-generated, but a gift from God, offered freely to individuals and societies, regardless of their race, colour, creed, education, wealth or status, who would welcome it and live accordingly, inspired, upheld and transformed by the prayer of mind, of heart and of life. As such, its potential for renewal lies not in the intelligence, fitness, organisational skills, strategies and general capability of recipients, but in their willingness to listen, to ponder, to accept, to co-operate, to collaborate, to act rather than to react; to seek integrity through living justly, loving tenderly and walking humbly, trustingly with their God. All are invited to enter into that process, to become that ‘Yes!’ to God.
Christic peace is in the totally reasonable act of faith which is absolute, beyond all human calculations, which empowers and thereby gives ground for rational hope for peace on earth, drawing attention not only to symptoms of unpeacefulness but to their underlying causes. It maps peace in its fullness, in the way of peace.
Christic peace exacts a price: carrying the cross of selflessness and of self-giving which seeks no reward other than loving God and doing God’s will. This is only possible by God’s grace, through co-operating with it, through discovering the paths of love, which alone can make possible the forgiveness, the mercy and the obedience required. This is the realm into which all are invited, which few enter willingly, and which many abandon.
Prayer: Lord, Thy will be done on earth