We’ve come to the end of the season of Lent. In just a couple of days, we celebrate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week and the journey to the cross and then the empty tomb.
During our midweek Lenten worship services we have been thinking together about the scars that we carry in life. I came across a quote from one of my favorite writers and theologians, Henri Nouwen:
“Nobody escapes being wounded. We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. The main question is not, ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but ‘How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?’ When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.”
During this season of Lent, as I’ve listened to our five excellent midweek worship speakers, I have learned some important things.
- When we are wounded, we are never wounded alone. We are always surrounded by the people of God, and we can turn to them for prayer and support. Indeed, people who follow Jesus want to serve and to care for us when we experience wounds.
- Our wounds and our scars do not define us. Sometimes the pain we experience is so significant that we have difficulty moving beyond it. We allow it to overwhelm our sense of self. We do this because we’ve forgotten our true identity: child of God.
- Our wounds are a part of our journey and are nothing to be afraid of. I remember sitting with a friend once comparing scars. “I got this one playing soccer…” “I got this one when I cut my finger at boy scout camp…” “I got this one….” The scars were a kind of a roadmap of our past. By talking about our pain, we are being open, honest and vulnerable with our story.
- We have scars because we have been healed. Scars don’t exist unless healing has taken place underneath the scar. Dr. Brian Bunkers, in his talk on our first Wednesday, defined a physical scar as “a fibrous tissue that forms over a closed and healed wound.” In other words, there wouldn’t be a scar there, unless significant healing had taken place underneath.
God heals. It doesn’t always happen in the timeline or the way that we want, but all healing comes from God. To remember the source of our healing is to acknowledge that there is something greater than ourselves that tends to and cares for us.
Even Jesus carried scars; wounds in his hands, his feet, his forehead and his side. And when the disciple Thomas doubted, Jesus showed him the wounds and scars to show Thomas who (and whose) he was.
Don’t be embarrassed, or ashamed of your scars. They are part of your story…your identity. And they tell the story of your resilience, your healing, and most importantly, both who and whose you are.
And when we recognize the role these scars play in our lives, we are able to help others understand the same. And then we all become, as Jesus was, wounded healers.
On towards Easter! God’s blessings,