We met this morning using Zoom. We had music and pictures to inspire us as well as a step outside for a burst of bird song.
Resurrected with wounds.
After his resurrection, Jesus appears to be resurrected and yet wounded at the same time. This is the unexpected appearance of the Risen Jesus.
His resurrected body remains scarred. Thinking about this over the last few days I’ve found it very strange, surely we’d expect his resurrected body to be perfect, to be unscarred.
Then we find from reading the gospels that Jesus’ wounds are part of his identity. Because it’s by his wounds that his followers recognised him as Jesus. It is only by seeing his wounds and scars that Thomas is able to identify Jesus as his Lord and his God. The brokenness of Jesus body seems to be a very important part of his identity; his wounds are part of who Jesus is.
Will we also be resurrected with our wounds? We all have wounds that are caused by sickness, by accidents, by the actions of others and by the problems and disappointments of life.
All of us are wounded. Even Jesus is wounded after his resurrection. Resurrection hope doesn’t seem to do away with our woundedness. By retaining the wounds of his torture and execution, is Jesus showing us that we can find hope and strength in him?
It seems to me that many Christians think faith requires denying the ways our bodies retain the scars of continued pain and injury; in our memories, in our struggles with illness and injury, in our despair over others’ apathy when faced with injustice.
The risen yet wounded Jesus wants to open our eyes to see the pain of others, the destruction of the earth due to our greed and foolishness, and our part in wounding others near and far. Jesus offers us a peace that recognises the hard reality of injury and hurt.
So our resurrection hope does not deny the reality of wounds. Jesus although resurrected with wounds is not disabled by them. That’s what I think he wants for us.
We can freely enter into his resurrection hope just as we are – wounds and all.
Our faith is in a God who is always with us in our woundedness.
Thought for our day / our times
After the meditation on Maundy Thursday I lay in bed and thought about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and his feelings of vexation with his disciples sleeping off the meal. I was having a sleepless night and Grayden was sleeping like a baby next to me.
I have never really suffered with anxiety, but wonder if my sleepless nights and agitated feelings during the day are due to some anxiety about the Coronavirus situation at the moment and about my mother needing care.
It led me to think of Jesus praying in torment and what sort of things would have been troubling him apart from being terrified about what his own future held.
It struck me that Jesus would have been feeling anxious about his mother a widow with no income – we see his care for her when he was on the cross when he said in
John 19 vs 26 – 27 “Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
So Jesus was anxious about his family. He was worried about his friends too – living under occupation, presenting a threat to the religious and occupying powers. What would happen to them?
- My mind went to the current situation with the Covid-19 and people’s concerns about family and friends becoming infected.
- My mind went to a family with legal decisions hanging over them.
- My mind went to our close friend a GP – not fully recovered from suspected Covid-19
- My mind went to some close friends and their family and the thousands of others who have lost loved ones prematurely
- My mind went to places where medical facilities will not be able to cope with the virus
- My mind went to front line workers who continue to work to help us all.
- And on and on and on – So many people with so many concerns, worries, fears and anxieties.
When I have had troubles in the past I have been greatly comforted by Hebrews 4 and the knowledge that whatever we go through Jesus has been there too and he understands when we call out to him. So can I share with you that verse that has helped me.
Hebrews 4 Jesus the Great High Priest
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.