Generally Speaking: A few worldly thoughts for Holy WeekBy MARILYN TINNIN COLUMNIST,
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week.
It is a period that invites reflection. Reflection is a treasured soul-nurturing opportunity to remember our undeserved value before a holy God.
We pause to recall and trace the steps of Jesus all the way from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem to his tortured and stumbling death trek to Golgotha.
For some reason the mantra of the old ABC Wide World of Sports comes to mind —“the thrill of victory…the agony of defeat.” It certainly seemed the case for Jesus that week!
The very same crowd that shouted, “Hail to the King” on Sunday cried, “Crucify him” a few short days later.
The fact that Jesus knew from the beginning of his earth journey that the rock star worship on Sunday was going to turn to bitter hatred on Friday had to have his stomach churning and his heart feeling a crushing weight of dread.
Wouldn’t you think?
I wonder what it must have been like for Him to put one foot in front of the other in those weeks leading up to the cross.
To be human and to be Divine all at the same time—He knew as the sun rose and set each day that He was one day closer to the cross. It was really going to happen. And He would feel every pounding nail piercing his flesh with the same degree of pain that you or I would feel it.
He also knew that even his very best friends were not going to be there for him when he needed them the most.
And the most hurtful truth of all was that God, his Father, would have to turn his back on him for a time as well.
Can you imagine the utter jubilation of those defeated desperate friends of Jesus who so regretted that they had abandoned him, looking up on Sunday morning to find him, the very one whose bloody broken body had been sealed in a tomb standing before them miraculously whole and alive and without a single condemning word over their failure?
I am extra thankful that the story included good ole Doubting Thomas, a logical and analytical left-brain personality. Praise God for the left-brains of the world! They can completely exasperate some of us at times with their spread sheets and mind for detail, but I am confident that pondering, indecisive, artistic right-brains would never have gotten us out of the Stone Age.
Had it not been for Thomas’ skepticism, we might not have known that the nail prints were still there. If God could part the sea, restore sight to the blind, and cure the leper, He could easily have done a little cosmetic surgery and removed those hideous scars. But He did not. I think the record of the scars was a way of connecting with us down through the centuries.
I was not quite two years old when I tripped on a throw rug in our hall and landed face down on a blazing floor furnace. I melted there for a few minutes before anybody noticed I was missing. My mother said I never cried, but I did cling to her when she lifted me from the blistering surface. All these years later, I still wear the imprint of that furnace grid on my right arm and leg.
It goes without saying we all have scars of one kind or another. Some are visible. Some are inside of us, invisible in the eyes of the world.
Wounds can heal, but the scars tend to hang around forever as reminders of the lessons life has taught us. And that is a very good thing that in God’s hands can be redeemed.
I remember the afternoon I first thanked God for scars. I was headed back to Jackson after a weekend with my daughter Betsy in Birmingham. She had just come through a hurtful time, and I was processing what I perceived to be her significant scars—asking a few “Why, Lord,” questions as well. Then it hit me…the nail prints. The Jesus who calmed the seas, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, and turned a sack lunch for one into a feast for thousands…that same Jesus chose not to erase his own ugly scars. The gospels tell us that his disciples were able to touch the very places the nails had pierced his flesh.
There is something oh so significant about scars… Scars make us human...Scars give us credibility in the world. They make us real.
And our scars matter to Him—so much that He wore his as one more reminder that He really knows our human frailties. Unlike our scars that are sometimes accidental, His were intentional and voluntary, created by the greatest act of love in all of history.
Scars have a purpose. Scars make us real; they make us vulnerable, and in that vulnerability is a certain strength that can help our fellow man embrace Christ our Lord.
Jesus did not cover His scars, and neither should we.