Some of you will know, that I have been battling skin cancer, and at the start of this year, it materialised again. This has meant 2 lots of surgery I have had to go through already this year.
The second lot of surgery has left a sizeable scar, and is taking time to recover, but it got me thinking about scars. The scars we carry! The scars we obtain!
Gaining a scar is a reminder of something painful, and maybe depending upon how long the scar lasts, will have an impact upon the memory of the painful act that we had to go through to get that scar. Many of the people we journey with carry scars, because of a whole host of reasons that life has thrown at them. Maybe you yourself have even recognised as you read this blog that you are carrying scars in your own life, scars that remind of a painful act or encounter in life.
But, as well as the reminding of the painful act, scars are also a prophetic reminder of how we have battled, and got through a particular situation. Scars, can indeed be a painful reminder, but they can also be a prophetic reminder, that we have overcome a situation, it no longer has a hold on our lives, the scar can encourage us that we no longer live in that situation or context.
As we embark upon Lent, which obviously leads to Easter, we will remember the scars that Jesus received, as he was nailed to the cross, without any doubt it would have been a painful time for him, but the interesting thing maybe, challenging thing is that when Jesus rose from the dead, he still held those scars, he even encouraged one of the disciples to put their hand into the scar, to prove he was still carrying them. The scars he carried, were a reminder that he overcame, he did not remain dead, but he came back to life.
It would also have been a prophetic sign for Jesus to carry those scars, as it would have shown how he took the weight of all that stopped us from having a relationship with the Father, but yet, he broke all those barriers, and enabled all who recognised him, to come and have that life-changing relationship with the Father in Heaven.
For Jesus, undoubtedly scars were painful, but they also showed how the situation no longer had a hold on him, or even on us, who he died for. Those scars are saying that we were worth it, and a reminder that barriers have been broken, relationship is open to all who wish to receive it, and Jesus himself saying that we are worth it, and how he took those scars so we don’t have too.
A powerful thought, that someone else would carry scars on our behalf, saying we don’t have to carry them, or have them. Jesus saying that he understands that life will scar us, but the invitation is always open, we can always come to him, and he has the scars, so we can give things to him, and he has taken those things from us. It isn’t always easy, or straight forward, but yet, still a powerful thought that Jesus would take the scars for us.
So, the slowly healing scar on my wrist, a painful reminder of surgery, but also a reminder of how I am battling and winning the battle against skin cancer. Not an easy battle, but I do have to keep reminding myself that I am winning that battle, and the scars help me remember that.
Some thoughts for us to think through as we start into lent:
1: are there scars that maybe we need to give to Jesus?
2: what scars are there that remind us we have overcome situations and painful experiences?
3: how does it feel for us to know that Jesus kept his scars, carried them, to remind us of what he did for us, and how he says we were and still remain worth it?
Gloucester Centre of Mission