Very interesting message this past week from the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas (Episcopal). Now, having participated (on the losing side) in some minor ways in the recent wars of the Episcopal Church, I am not automatically receptive to most bishops, including my own. But here I think Bp Doyle got it exactly right:
He was preaching from John 20:19-26, The post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples in the upper room. One of the points at which he dwelt at some length was that, in this locked room filled with men who were badly frightened, and scarred to the depths of their being by the events of the last few days (coming on top of the events of the last 3 years), Jesus makes his appearance offering peace, power and the gift of His Holy Spirit. All well enough.
But first he makes his authenticity plain by displaying to them his own wounds.
Thomas, not with them, later says he won’t believe unless he sees and touches those wounds
Yes, the victory of the resurrection was and is the main thing – Thomas would not have proclaimed “My Lord and my God!” on seeing the wounds in a dead body. But it is the presence of the wounds that verifies the victory.
I was reflecting on the fact that, in His resurrected, perfected body, from which the effects of death had been purged, the marks of His suffering were not. They remained obvious. And yet, often we as Christians proclaim God’s goodness while trying to maintain a fiction that we are not wounded, that we bear no scars, we have no sore spots. If we tell others of them at all, it is with a testimony like “Look here in my palm – you would never believe it, but I was wounded RIGHT HERE! And Look! The healing has been so complete that my palm looks as unspoiled as that of a baby!” That’s not what Jesus said.
He came into a wounded and hurting room, and brought peace. His peace was accepted because, along with his victory, he brought the truth of his own wounds.
When we proclaim the victory of Jesus on our own lives, we would do well to think on these things.