Submitted by Jan on Tue, 03/01/2017 – 16:56
Baptism of the Lord, First Sunday after the Epiphany
Year A (2016-2017)
Bible Book: Isaiah
Verse: 1 – 9
“Daddy Daddy! I would call. He always answered me in a way I believe only I knew. The day I dreaded the most is the day he died. I was afraid of living without my friend, my father, protector, provider, counsellor and all. But as I faced my fears the day my father died, I was strangely reminded that there is a father who always answers me – The Father in Heaven. On that day I may have lost a father, but I gained an angel for life”
These are words of a young woman who had dealt with much pain in a short life: Infected with HIV at birth, became caregiver to her Daddy and two younger brothers after her Mom died, completed school two years behind the rest of her age mates because of time off sick, lagged behind her age mates socially, physically and emotionally, unavoidably leaving her isolated and feeling discriminated against. She described life as unfair, unjust, judgmental and unforgiving.
Yet Sam, (not her real name) in her reflections reminds us of the key message that Isaiah 42:1-9 has for the exiled Jews of the day: The Servant of God is the universal answer to man’s problems.
We could be infected at birth, through choices we make, from giving care to a loved one, or through helping a needy stranger. It may be numbness to the sting of death, as you have lost count of the burials you have conducted. At times it is the lost dreams, opportunities and even resources for now and security for tomorrow, that we face as we try to deal with the impact and effects of HIV infection and treatment. The failing medical systems don’t make it any better, as you may not only fail to access services, but providers can be judgmental and stoic for their own reasons. You are the “bruised reed” and flickering lamp that He will restore.
No matter who you are and what pain you may be going through, the Servant brings justice “to the nations” (Is 42:1) and is a light “for the Gentiles” (Is 42:6). The Servant’s work is universal in all respects. Whatever your age, race, creed, tribe, language or nationality, health status, social status or level of education, God’s compassion and justice reaches all in the right way and perfectly. Jesus the Servant of God and Saviour of the world, ought to be our focus when we face inextinguishable pain.
When faced with our world of hatred, prejudice, pain and death, it is wise to know and depend on Jesus Christ, God’s servant and gift to the world. Helen Howarth Lemmel (1863-1961) encourages us and strengthens us through it all: “O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”
To think about: In what ways could you change your approach to life because you know that Christ is your personal Saviour?
Author: Makoni L. (Mr)