Buzzings April 2009
Easter is upon us. Spring is here, winter is over! We leave behind the chill of the snow for the mystery that is life. All around us we see new growth. Flowers pushing up from the dirt, birds sharing their songs, ducks flying hundreds of miles home to have their families. How does this all happen? How, in the midst of it all, does the promise of spring continue to reappear, year after year?
Easter is a special time. As Christians it is the most important religious holiday. It can also be the most confusing, mysterious, hardest to explain and accept. To some it may seem that we are celebrating a dead man coming back to life, but for us it is more then that. It is celebration of the fact that life is more powerful then death. That God’s grace is for all.
But there is also the somber side. Just as Jesus lived a life that many would call far from perfect, we believe in a Christ who is wounded. Look at the resurrection stories: Jesus still bears the wounds of the cross. They are not erased, they are not magically repaired. But instead they are there, and Christ does not shy away from them. “Look at my hands and feet” he says to the disciples in Luke 24:39. In John 20:27 Christ says “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out and put it in my side.”
Why, if Christ was resurrected, would he not wipe away all marks of his wounds? Why not make his skin smooth and restored? I can think of two reasons. One is to remind us of the fact that “by his wounds we were healed” meaning that Christ went to the cross for us, to show us just how much God abundantly loved and cared for us.
Second, the wounds of Christ remind us of the wounds that still exist in the world. Christ’s wounds are a reminder that there are still many who are wounded by hunger, wounded by broken homes, wounded by unfair government practices, wounded by a troubled economy, wounded by discrimination, wounded by their own egos and their own self-hate.
If Christ was to cover up his wounds then we could easily cover up the wounds of others (and ourselves) and do nothing. But as long as Christ’s wounds remain visible, then we have no choice then to see and acknowledge the wounds around and within us. Then, by seeing, we may be empowered to act, to react and to move. To embrace, as Ephesians 2: 10 states, what we were created to be and to do.
As long as the resurrected Christ bears his scars, then we as Christians and as a church, are called to find ways to bring healing into the world, embracing God’s grace and sharing it with others.
Have a joyous Easter and a fantastic spring,