The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint - Isaiah 50:7
In his lectionary analysis for this week, John Shearman notes that this passage (vs 4-9) from Isaiah was interpreted by the early church as a reference to Jesus as the Messiah.
I think it also has an interpretation that applies to us today.
Old Testament passages are always a bit suspect. They were written for a culture so different from our own that it’s often tempting to simply set them aside and ignore them. Especially since they’ve so often been co-opted by the more strident strains of Christianity and used to justify injustice.
But if we make allowance for the language, the culture, and the intervening millennia, we can, as with any other sacred text, find a kernel of truth within the text. And a thread of connection that runs from ourselves to the ancient origins of our faith.
Mainline/liberal Christians tend to avoid confrontation. We recognize our own failings all too well to be comfortable attacking those of others.
But in order to achieve the metanoia – the transformation – of the world that we believe in, we too must “set our faces like flint” and be willing to speak the truth of our agapé relationship with Theos. We can’t allow ourselves to “turn backwards” when we’re confronted with hostility.
Our inseverable connection to “the Lord God” is all of the confirmation we need that we are not only “not disgraced”, we’re living and speaking the Message of the Christ in a world desperately in need of spiritual renewal.