by Ellen



I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when the church was empty and the lights were off in the afternoon, and the only light was from the kind that comes in through the stained glass windows that are almost 200 years old. This relief sculpture is on the Southeast wall, next to the altar, and I think it's the most beautiful piece in the building. If you look to quickly, you could miss it.


So.......

I was looking for something else when I came upon this, and it really amazed me. I've read it before, but today, it was different. Surprising, lovely, and Lent-almost-Easter-y.


This is what God says through the prophet Isaiah.


Isaiah 52:13-53:12
The Suffering Servant

13See, my servant shall prosper;
he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high.
14Just as there were many who were astonished at him*
—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of mortals—
15so he shall startle* many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which had not been told them they shall see,
and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
53Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering* and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces*
he was despised, and we held him of no account.


4Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.


7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people.
9They made his grave with the wicked
and his tomb* with the rich,*
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.


10Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.*
When you make his life an offering for sin,*
he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.
11 Out of his anguish he shall see light;*
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
The righteous one,* my servant, shall make many righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.