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The Stories of Our Scars

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Do you have any scars?

Have you ever stopped to think about the stories that those scars can tell?

My scars tell of the time that I had an emergency appendectomy… in Honduras… in 1976. They take me back even farther than that – to the time in Junior High (in Mt. Airy) when I thought it would be fun to slide down an ice-covered tree-lined street on an inner tube. More recent scars remind me of the importance of using sunscreen. I could go on… and on! But really, scars tell part of the story of who we are:

what has mattered to us

what has happened to us

the risks we’ve taken

the gifts we’ve given

the work we’ve done.

Sometimes it can be good to look at those scars and listen to their stories.

A couple of weeks ago, many of us heard a story about someone else’s scars – Jesus!  Yes, even when he had risen from the grave, when he had conquered death, in the midst of the ongoing peace and presence of Christ, the scars were still there! And they had a story to tell.

It’s interesting, I think, that for one of the disciples, Thomas, the proof that he needed in order to believe that Jesus was really Jesus, was not a crown or a halo or some superhero outfit. No, it was the scars – the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side.

Lately, I’ve started to agree with Thomas (and, by the way, with good ole Count Zinzendorf!).  I think I relate more to the wounded-ness of Jesus than to the majesty and glory part. I’m not denying or downplaying that glorious aspect of our Savior, but personally, I find a God who suffers

a God who weeps

a God who is thirsty

a God who is despised and rejected

I find that God to be a God who has a profound impact on my heart and on my life

a God I can relate to

a God I want to share with others who might also be


or weeping

or thirsty

or despised and rejected.

My family and I were wounded, badly, a couple of weeks ago.  My nephew was brutally murdered. The scars on his body soon became scars on our hearts and our lives. Sometimes our human tendency is to try to cover up those scars or make them go away. But I have found that when I am willing to share my own wounded-ness, as well as the faith and love and hope that I have found in a wounded Savior, sometimes those wounds, ironically, help to bring healing.

As Christians and as Moravians, we know that we are the Body of Christ in the world. And sometimes we are the wounded body of Christ. There’s no way around that. But not only is that OK, maybe that’s what some people need to see. Maybe there are people, like Thomas, for whom the scars can be the story that touches their lives.

About the Author

Photo courtesy of the Board of World Mission

The Rt. Rev. Sam Gray is the Director of Mission Outreach for the Board of World Mission. Contact Sam Gray at [email protected]

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