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There have been a couple times when I’ve had experiences as a chaplain on Holy Saturday that have made it especially hard for me to claim and celebrate the promise of resurrection come Easter morning. This past weekend was one of them.
Today, though, I remember Grant’s story, which I heard on my way into work one Friday morning a month ago, a morning when I knew I’d be visiting with a family whose 2 year old was having surgery for neuroblastoma that day.
Grant’s story gives me a much-needed reminder that there are stories that do turn out well, that healing happens, that restoration happens, that death doesn’t get the last word. As with so many children who face cancer or other health challenges, Grant speaks with wisdom well beyond his years.
What really tugs at me, though, is how one of the triggers that reminds Grant that he’s “lucky” and that he has an “amazing life” is when he feels the touch and twinge of his surgical scars. The enduring physical reminder of what he’s been through, of the scary and dangerous things that his toddler self endured, are today a prompt for wonder and gratitude.
I think that’s true for many of us, whether the scars are physical or not. Sometimes we get to look back at the places where we were hurt the most and discover that it was precisely there that we began to experience healing, maybe new life, maybe a second chance, maybe a new companion or community to journey with us on the ascent out of rock-bottom circumstances.
Today, as I search for Easter footing, Grant’s story also reminds me of Jesus, and how his post-resurrection body still bore the scars of the crucifixion. The resurrection did not erase or ignore the marks of the horrors that had preceded it. The resurrection incorporated the scars into the bigger story, where death was inescapable but also inadequate to destroy the triumphant power of God’s love and life. The marks in Jesus’ hands and feet bore testimony, especially for people like “doubting” Thomas who needed to know that the living Jesus was one and the same as the crucified Jesus.
I’ll be thinking about Jesus’ wounds today, and hoping that they point me to places in my own life where I will glimpse transformation and healing, even and especially in the places where the world’s abundant woundedness is still trying to steal all the airtime. Christ was wounded indeed, but may we live as people who are animated by knowing that he is risen indeed. He lives.