I’ve always hated the fact that I live in a world where ugliness at a soulish level is rewarded and celebrated. I tried to be hard, harsh, unconcerned about the vulnerable, but I could not sustain it. I was changed. Since then I have been seeking community that will not give into ugliness; even when it means sacrifices of power, popularity, and wealth.
I’m saddened watching ugliness exalted as a means of fighting other forms of ugliness. There is no beauty in this, just variations of ugliness. Many in my religious community are at least as enthusiastic for ugly champions as the blatantly worldly are. It is disheartening.
I am not alone in my sadness.
I am consoled through devotion to one who is more grieved than me; a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He came to his own, those he blessed to bless others beautifully, but his own rejected him. His own people unleashed their ugliness on him until he was made ugly. That is what an ugly world does.
I have hope greater than despair.
Though we have all indulged in collusion with ugliness, the Servant does not hate us. He loves us with living and beautiful hope. Having borne our ugliness, he rose in royal victory, beautifully offering reconciliation to rebels. He even extends that grace to those who align with the rulers of the earth; the rulers who will stand speechless in his presence.
I choose a greater beauty over a lesser evil.
Maybe there are degrees of evil, lesser and greater ugliness. But there is also a way of beauty. It is a vulnerable way; a way exposed to the power of ugliness. But it is the right way; the living way.
Beauty > Ugliness
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
~ Stanza 5 of 5 from Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Song (52:13 – 53:12)
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