Scars

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I have a scar on my left knee.  When I was about 9 or 10, I took a bump on my bicycle and flew off onto a brick on the ground.  My knee split open to the bone–I was lucky it didn’t break.  I had about 15 stitches and left the ER with an orange popsicle because I didn’t cry while they stitched me up.  I watched the doctor sew every stitch.

I have a scar on my left side, under my ribs.  When I was 10 or 11, I teased my older brother until he got so mad he chased me over a fence where there was a short, squatty palm tree with ugly thorns that grabbed my side and tore it open.  I had about 10 stitches and left my pediatrician’s office with a lollipop.

I have a scar on my chin.  When I was 7 or 8, a bunch of us from the neighborhood were playing slip-n-slide in the hot Arizona summer.  I slipped as I ran on the wet driveway and fell and clocked my chin.  I had a few stitches and it hurt worse than any of the other stitches–the numbing agent didn’t work as well where there was no fatty tissue for the needle to penetrate.

I have a couple of scars on both my legs.  When I was 12, I secretly used my grandfather’s old razor–the one you actually had to screw in a razor blade.  My grandfather died when I was 8; but my grandmother still had his razor.  It was the first time I shaved my legs and when the razor sliced through my flesh, I should have told my grandmother to call my mom to take me to the ER for a tetanus shot and stitches (I was too embarrassed and ashamed to tell anyone–my mom thought I was too young to shave–so I suffered silently, and in long pants, through the wounding).  There was a lot of blood and those wounds took a long time to heal.

I have scores of other scars that all tell stories from my life:  a couple of chicken pox scars, acne scars, several burn marks from not being careful in taking things out of the oven and a burn mark on my right wrist from when I was 4 and playing in my room, instead of napping, and burned myself on a light bulb–that one’s a long story….

I have many other scars that aren’t visible.  Like most people, if not all, various great and small traumas broke my heart almost beyond recognition.  Some wounds healed quickly and others took a long time.  Some I should have gone to a spiritual ER–perhaps the emotional and spiritual scarring wouldn’t be as significant.  With a few, I did go to a spiritual ‘doctor’ and she helped save my heart to break another day.

Looking at my scars, I think of Jesus and His scars.  Does He despise His scars as much as I do some of mine?  We are in the Lenten season, so I can’t help but think of His passion.  We are His passion.  His passion for us took Him up a hill, carrying His own cross on a bloodied, beaten body where He allowed all of the unworthiness of this world to pound spikes into His hands and feet and kill Him.  He must have agonized over what happened, since He begged God not to make Him go through with it and sweated blood in the conflict of soul.  But He did it anyway and He has the scars to tell that story.  For more than 2,000 years, that story continues.  We tell it every year at Easter.  We tell it every year at Christmas.  We tell it every time a church meets.  We tell it every time friends pray together.  We tell it and pass it on for other generations to proclaim.  His wounds, scarred over, scream HE ROSE AND DIDN’T STAY DEAD!!!

I want scars that tell an everlasting tale without shame.  I want scars that shout joyfully the reality that God heals, restores and makes ugly things beautiful beyond our wildest hopes.  I want scars that resurrect hearts.  I want the glorious scars.  Am I willing to receive wounds that lead to those kinds of scars?

 

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Invitation

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Come.  Sit with me as the evening fades and let candles illumine our faces.  Let us talk about the things that can only be said in flickering light.  Let us talk about the deepest things of the soul and learn to see life and controversies from other perspectives.  Shadows have a way of bringing safety and vulnerability.  I remember campfires while backpacking.  After hiking 15-20 miles with a 70 pound pack and setting up camp, lazing by the campfire contented even the most urban in our group.  Down came the defenses we normally shored up.  Our bodies, weary from the sun and exertion, no longer held the ability to hold each other at arms length and we freed ourselves to belly-laugh at silly skits, admit confidences that we hadn’t admitted to ourselves and sing with gusto all the cliche songs of campfire generations past.

Come.  Sit with me as the evening fades and let candles illumine our minds.  Let us discuss the difficult passages of life and love that society normally only speaks in hushed tones.  Let us boldly offer varying interpretations on scripture, God and how we fit into the grand plan.  I remember youth and how the bonds forged in high school and college created a microcosm of how we thought the world existed.  I remember feeling so intelligent and confident that I could reason away any silly emotional argument that didn’t meet with my interpretation of God.  Conflicts lasted momentarily, because I needed to show grace to those who lacked an ability to form arguments to obvious flaws in reasoning.  So sure of my beliefs, others came to me and asked my counsel.  I freely gave it and believed that the closeness of mind we shared would carry us through any and all adversities and adversaries.

Come.  Sit with me as the evening fades and let candles illumine our souls.  Let us share our hearts and all that we’ve learned from living.  Let us process the traumas and joys of our lives in light of experience and knowledge, perhaps gaining true wisdom.  I remember Job’s friends.  No one wants to be them because they said silly things.  But before they ever said a word, they sat in ashes with Job in silence.  They planned on giving him comfort and sympathy.  “And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him.  And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven.  And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great” (Job 2:12-13, ESV).  I want friends like these.  I want friends that have learned to empathize and relate with both their heads and their hearts.  I want a community of people who don’t have all the answers and are willing to hear a different side.

Come.  Sit with me as the evening fades and let candles illumine us.  Let us sit in silence and commune.  Let us speak wisdom of the ages in humility.  Let us sing of God and his profound healing, love and LIFE!  Let us experience the extreme of what Edgar Allan Poe called “joy to the brink of pain.”

Come.  Let us worship together.

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