“Christianity is the only religion whose God bears the scars of evil.” ~ Os Guinness, English Author
I suppose this blog entry may be more appropriate for the Easter season. However, we are taught in the Scriptures and in the tradition of the church that every Sunday is a reminder of Jesus Christ’s victory over all of our enemies -- sin, death, and the evil one. So, it’s always a great time to remember what happened on that Easter weekend nearly two millennia ago.
I increasingly believe that remembering and living out Christ’s victory is the only true antidote for all, and I mean all, of our discontent, disappointment, and despair that we experience as individuals and our culture. Nothing else can make us whole. Nothing else can bring us together with lasting peace. Nothing else can help us live under and with true authority in our lives. Nothing else can save our children. Nothing else can give meaning to the works of our heart, head, and hands.
Remembering daily and reflecting on the eternal truth that Jesus Christ bears our scars sets our context in the perspective of history and eternity. Reflecting each morning and evening on how this shapes our expectations and treatment of the good things and hard things--in the end, seeing them all as opportunities--is our invitation as children of God.
I can’t imagine a more needful thing for us as parents and teachers! Who else needs this reminder more? We, who are engaged in the trenches of bringing up the next generation, we need that invitation daily.
In our first chapel this year, we concluded with this memorable passage from Matthew 11:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Not only are these words some of the most beautiful ever spoken to human beings, they are backed up by Christ’s costly sacrifice and victory. The wounds in his hands, feet, and side speak to us of His undying love for us, our children, and for all people who have ever lived.
The second stanza of the first hymn in our school hymnbook, “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” speaks to this reality:
Crown him the Lord of love;
Behold his hands and side;
Rich wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified;
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sky
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.
These are not far-off realities. They are with us each day, if we only have the desire, will, and imagination to see how close they are to us. This is a truth that truly changes all things, and one that we as parents, and lesser as teachers, are primarily responsible for teaching to our children now.
I close with a poem that I recently discovered, courtesy of the Colson Center’s Breakpoint Daily ministry. The poet is Edward Shillito (1872-1948), an English minister who lived through both World Wars. Listen to his words about this glorious truth and idea.
“Jesus of the Scars”
If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.
The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.
If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.
The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.
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May we take the next step today in helping our children see the reality of all things through the glorious sacrifice and victory of our Living God.