Monday, April 6, 2009

The Servant of Peace

Today's Word:
Isaiah 42:1-7 (First Song of the Suffering Servant: "I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of justice")
Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14 (The Lord is my light and my help; whom should I fear?)
John 12:1-11
(Surely you're not saying we have the resources
To save the poor from their lot
There will be poor always, pathetically struggling
Look at the good things you've got!
Think while you still have Me, move while you still see Me...
You'll be lost and so sorry when I'm gone

Everything's Alright excerpt from "Jesus Christ Superstar" )

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.
(Romans 10:15, cf. Isaiah 52:7, as heard in Handel's Messiah)

Whatever you did  for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.
(Matthew 25:40)

During the five years I was an active deacon, it got into my head that the most important way I could execute my office was to consider the plight of the many less fortunate than even my family and I were. As I mentioned previously, we were struggling; but we managed from time to time to pass on things we had accumulated to either others who could use it or to charity.

did not then believe in the 'write a check' mentality of which we as a society use, even to the point of being casual. I still don't. While I will put loose change in the Salvation Army kettles at Christmastime, I feel better about donating food to the food pantries and goods to organizations who can resell them and take that cash value in exchange. Since then, we've also added paper recycling to the routine. We tend to generate a lot of it in part because we homeschool our son. The paper is recycled through Cornerstone when I can get out there, and our public library at other times. It's a win-win situation because not only does another benefit and the material we set aside is recycled or reused, but it prevents something else ending up in a landfill. (Our stewardship of the earth has led our planet in many ways to become poor and afflicted - and like any other living entity, we are charged to look after it!)

I digress. In those days, I did not want to court those who were well-off financially. I didn't see the point in it. There were others better skilled at sales pitches (as it were) to solicit contributions for whatever the need of the moment happened to be. No, I felt it more in line with what Jesus did to point out that by separating ourselves from others, we invited separation from God. (Not that God has ever been separated from us, as I have previously written; it is we ourselves who erect the virtual walls that divide and separate us from the God within each other.)

may have made an enemy or two over those years by not paying them the attention they thought they were due. It wasn't that I ignored them completely; I was courteous and polite and generally kept any anxiety I might have been harboring away from public eyes. On the other hand, I may have made enemies simply because I got to where I was. I knew many things, but was not necessarily the soul of tact.

I was so convinced that this was the best choice that I chose as one of my first online aliases the name "DeaconPax". A deacon is a servant, and 'pax' is the Latin word for 'peace.' Jesus was the true Servant of Peace, and I wanted to emulate this. Given that I had periods of insufferable frustration and I used to lose my temper at the drop of a hat - one time somebody compared me to Donald Duck - this was another undertaking that took little thought and maybe deserved a lot more.

I've never forgotten it, though. While I no longer use that alias, I believe I am walking closer to the path that a servant of peace should trod. I take great inspiration from the example of Jesus, and from the images given in the four "servant songs" found in Isaiah. These four passages are seen to speak prophetically of Jesus, and all of them are part of this week's scripture readings.

For today, I pray that my eyes be opened from my own blindness, that I may help others see. I pray that I live my life with conviction; living the words I speak with love, compassion, and peace. And may I do it better the next time.

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