March 29, 2013

God’s promise from the prophet Isaiah

Promising Good Friday

Who believes what we have heard?
To whom has the strength of the LORD been revealed?
For the One we awaited grew up
like a shoot from a dry root in the ground.

He had no majestic form to look upon –
nothing in His appearance to cause desire.
Instead, He was despised and rejected –
suffering such grief, we wanted to hide our faces
from facing so much sorrow.

We saw no explanation for Him,
and so we despised Him,
even though He took on our infirmities,
even though He took on our dis-ease,
even though we thought Him struck down
by God.

But He was wounded for our transgressions
and crushed for our iniquities.
Upon Him came the full punishment
to make us whole, and by the stripes
borne on His back, we all are healed.

Like sheep, we all have gone astray.
We have all turned to our own way,
and, as the LORD laid on Him
the iniquity of us all, He had to pay
for us,
for our ancestors,
and for our children’s crimes.

When accused of our wrongdoings,
He did not even open His mouth
but went silently like a sheep before its shearers,
like a Lamb led to its slaughter,
like a perversion of justice taken wordlessly away.

Who could imagine He had any future?
For He was cut from the land of the living
and stricken for our transgressions.

Someone carved His grave among the tombs
owned by the wicked and the rich,
even though He had done no violence,
nor even had a deceitful word
to say. But, by the will of the LORD,
pain crushed His life into an offering –

the final sacrifice we had to bring
to God for sin – for us,
for our ancestors, for our children – all,
His spiritual offspring.

© 2013, Mary Harwell Sayler, prayer-a-phrase poem of today’s Bible reading in Isaiah 53:1-10


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