The “Suffering Servant” illumination from Isaiah will be featured in Visio Divina sessions on Wednesday, February 25, at 12:45 p.m. (30 minutes) and 7:00 p.m. (60 minutes) in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher. This Lenten prayer opportunity is sponsored by Campus Ministry and the Garaventa Center. Campus Ministry’s Interactive Lenten Calendar provides this commentary:
The Prophets describe a coming Messiah who will restore peace and justice to Israel, yet he will be despised by the wicked and bear their sins quietly. Thus, he is called the Suffering Servant. In Jackson’s image, an emaciated prisoner stands above the head of a lamb, referencing the text in which the Messiah endures his tormenters with grace, “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter.” (Isaiah 53:7). The shadow of a modern chain link fence surrounds the Servant, drawing a parallel between the Messiah’s suffering and that of victims of suffering in today’s world. But just as the figure stands alone in Jackson’s image, so the Suffering Servant will one day be singled out by God to reign in Zion.
Regarding the chain link fence, Susan Sink in The Art of The Saint John’s Bible specifies, “This image was taken from pictures of the fence around Guantanamo Bay, Cuba…The confinement closer to the figure suggests the narrow bars of the Door of No Return at Elmina Castle in Ghana, the passage through which Africans were taken onto ships, bound for slavery in the New World.” (vol. 2, p. 68)