By Sister Ellen McClure, OSF
The rich and deep scripture readings that I encounter in Lent have been so moving to me over the years. I was privileged to study scripture years ago with some professors who had been students of the people who prepared the Jerusalem Bible. We all had our Jerusalem Bibles in class and took most of our notes right into the margins and the white spaces on the pages. I still have that Bible and when I use it for prayer, those classes all come alive again.
One means of boosting memories is the songs of the suffering servant in Deutero Isaiah which appear during Lent and Holy Week. They speak of the suffering of Jesus during his own agony. It’s hard to miss the connection between Old and New Testaments in these selections. The word for servant in Hebrew is ebed and the evidence that the Lord Jesus is that servant, chosen by the Father to suffer death for me, is unmistakable as I reflect on the songs.
I look to my life, which includes a move to a new home, meeting other residents and seeing my sisters in a new setting each day; how am I being servant? Is it by listening, a word of cheer, a promise of prayer or in ordering something on-line for one of the sisters that I can now and here be servant? In full-time professional ministry I could see so many opportunities to serve, but I believe they are as present and as important here and today.
Being a servant for me also involves asking for help with the everyday tasks I can’t quite accomplish. I can offer the Father my servant ego! Kindness goes a long way in servanthood. I have no idea of the histories of the non-sister residents here and I may never know them, but I see happy responses to kind words in passing. I am still unpacking things but even more I am beginning to unpack who Jesus is calling me to be in this journey of the heart. I pray I will read the signs and respond as a willing servant.