January 9, 2023

Opening Question: Where do you have a scar on your body and how did you get it? (Try not to be too gruesome for anyone with a queasy constitution!)

The first time I was hosting my husband’s family for dinner (we were still dating then), I was speeding around like a whirling dervish and stubbed my toe. As he heard me howling, he gently observed, “I noticed that you’re kind of klutzy”. I still married him, and I knew his comment to ring true – as the many scars on my body can attest.

My favourite scar is the one on the back of my right calf, horizontal with a slight slant, two inches in length. I was 25 years old, serving as one of five ministry staff at the Ocean City Beach Project (yes-where I got the idea for the SoCo Beach Project).

Two weeks into the project I was thrilled to be spending my summer months three blocks from the ocean—sand, surf and sun…and ministry to twenty young adults, of course! I was in the rental home where we were all living in intentional community for the summer. I leaned back to sit on the wooden ledge of a large window. Before I knew it, “CRACK” as the pane split, with one of the large pieces falling forward and sliding down my back.

Wearing shorts, the glass caught on my calf as it slid down, creating a huge gash. To make a long story short, I was rushed to the ER where, while lying on my stomach, I received 5 internal stitches along with 10 external ones. And the ER doctor gave me strict instructions: no sand, surf or sun for at least two weeks. AHHH!

Some scars make for great stories. Others bear witness to fear, harm, even near-death experiences. They mark the fact that we are created physical and live in bodies. In light of that, isn’t it amazing and even overwhelming that God in Christ decided to become embodied, to take on flesh that could bear cuts, wounds, and permanent marks? He took on the same vulnerability we live with every day.

Even more astounding, he bears the scars of his crucifixion. In the mystery of his resurrection, Christ still bears the nail marks in his hands and feet as well as the cut from the spear.

Rembrandt, in his famous painting, Doubting Thomas, depicts the moment of Thomas encountering Christ’s fleshly wounds. Thomas stares in wonder at the scars as proof that it really was Jesus and he really was raised from the dead.

As we enter this New Year, may we have courage in the Saviour, who took on our flesh, and in his scars, tells the story…the best story of how all our wounds, tears and pain are transformed by his resurrection and honoured in his scars.

Willemina Zwart


Photo: Unsplash

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