In this Easter season, we hear stories about Jesus’ resurrection. Over and over, he surprises his followers with his unexpected appearances. In the midst of their fears, he offers peace and reassurance. Over and over, Jesus shows up and gives the gift of his presence. Immanuel, God with us.
In many of the stories, disciples see and touch Jesus’ hands and feet. (See John 20:19-31 and Luke 24:36b-48). What the gospel writers make clear is that the resurrected Christ still has scars.
Life holds much pain and suffering. Jesus’ death on the cross tells us that God is with us when we are going through difficult, painful times. In the darkness of those days, the resurrection is evidence that God is at work to bring healing and new life. In the wonder of our wounds, Jesus finds us. Often we think of healing as being made as good as new. No more pain. No more struggle. No more scars, whether physical or emotional or spiritual.
These stories remind me that even in our resurrection (at least in this life), we still have scars. Our scars may be reminders that the pain never completely goes away and that our spiritual task is to manage the memories. Our scars are our badges of courage. Often our scars are evidence of our own healing, but also evidence of the ways we bring healing to others who are going through what we have been through in the past. There is something sacramental about scars: an outward and visible sign that, by the grace of God, we have endured, survived and even thrived. Our scars, like Jesus’ scars, are a sign of the resurrection.
Native Americans believe that if you show up in heaven with no scars, God sends you back. Scars are part of life. The resurrection of Jesus Christ tells us that the past does not define the present. Our scars tell the world we’ve engaged in battle and came through on the other side – by the grace of God and the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.
On the Easter journey with you,