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A journey through Lent - 2016

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Day Twenty One - The Suffering Servant.

Jesus on the cross

Judged by our standards and the standards of the world, Jesus would be considered a failure.

He was not wealthy, his message to the world was rejected, and he died a painful and shameful death.

But he did not pursue the normal things of the world. Certainly not power and recognition for the sake of fame. He did not strive for a life of comfort and luxury as most of us do.

We know little of how he looked but he is not described in the scriptures as anything remarkable in his appearance. Apart from the few occasions he was touched by the Holy Spirit there was no indication he was the Son of God.

He was rejected and despised, a man of sorrows. Unfairly tried, condemned, beaten, crushed and crucified. He suffered beyond our comprehension.

Yet he was innocent, righteous and without sin.

Jesus went through all these things for his love of us. As the passage says we are all like sheep. Foolish, helpless and desiring to go our own way.

Jesus came to set us back onto the right path. The path to heaven and eternal life.

Through his suffering we are made whole, brought peace and healed.

Did God need Jesus to suffer as a sacrifice for our sins? I do not think we have a God who requires this sort of sacrifice but we, in our deep and lasting need, required such an act of love to bring us back to our God.

It is when we realise that we have wandered away from God that our lives are lacking something. We may be off the rails and need to be forgiven. We may be simply blissfully ignorant that our lives are drifting without the presence of God.

As we see the suffering servant we are brought up short we see the wrongs in ourselves that deserve punishment and realise that through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus has made us a way to re-shape our lives, to give them meaning beyond this brief moment we spend on earth. And all through the power of the suffering servant. Amen.

Bible Passage: - Isaiah 53:1-6 (NIV)

Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Contemplation Saying.

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray"

Contemplative Prayer.

Think of the saying in order to understand context and meaning,

Feel the meaning of the saying with and in your heart,

Pray, using the saying, for yourself or others. With only a name and without explaining the reasons or pre-defining any answers.

Listen for God's voice in the quiet of your prayers.

Pray using your own prayers or one of those which have been prepared below.

Hymn: Singing the Faith 350 - "I cannot tell why he who angels worship"

Let us pray together.

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Loving God, we are in awe of the humility and compassion of your Son.

Our walk through Lent reveals the majesty of the suffering servant. Pain and suffering beyond our comprehension and endurance.

We see that through his wounds and suffering that there is a way that our broken lives can be healed.

We pray that you remind us everyday of the joy of our salvation.

Help us to live in your light so that we may know you each and every day. That we may be aware of your great promise of greater things to come.

In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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Loving God, as we sing we cannot tell why he whom angels worship. We admit that we cannot fully understand the reasons that your Son had to come to earth and die for us.

But we believe, as you have called us to, that it was indeed for each one of us that he, the suffering servant, endured these painful days of Easter.

We believe that he is risen and brings us new life. The promise of a constant relationship with you God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We come before you in our prayers to give you our thanks and to place our lives in your hands.

We pray that through our lives we may reveal the wonderous gift you have given to us. That the suffering of Jesus may bring us up short to re-evaluate our lives and priorities.

That we might give back to you a small part of your great gift to us. That through our sacrifices we may be Christ like as we speak your word to the world around us.

Let your Holy Spirit fill us to overflowing with your love and compassion. Let it pour from us into the world around us. Let it soak our homes, our work, our leisure, our families, friends and neighbours.

Let us proclaim that we have a God who knows our suffering and came to set us free. Amen.