Sunday, August 12, 2012

Being Scarred By Beauty

While doing some research for the blog last week, I came across this quote:

“Jesus Himself did not rid Himself of the physical marks brought about by His crucifixion and death. Instead, He kept the nail marks and spear cut to demonstrate that He had died and was now alive. His broken body brings us spiritual wholeness.” Dave Andrus, executive director of Lutheran Blind Mission

Special guest blogger Becky Patton has more to say on this subject.

Being Scarred by Beauty.


There is this guy in scripture that has become my friend. In Acts he is the one that had to touch the scars of Jesus; some how just seeing was not enough, instead he needed to touch, feel and experience the wounds. Scripture does not condemn his action yet that hesitation has led us to label him “doubting Thomas.”

Yet I wonder is there more?
Jesus invites him to
come close...
touch and feel...
these scars that marked his body.
Could this physical scaring actually hold traces of beauty?

Have you ever wondered about why Jesus chose to return into an earthly body that held scarred hands, feet and side? Why keep the scars?  I mean Jesus did conquer death, I am guessing that ripped and torn skin could be replaced or remolded.

I use to believe that I would not be like Thomas, that if I had been there, just seeing the wonder and beauty of Jesus would have been enough, but I have come to realize that I, like Thomas, often have need of learning to be invited to more than just what I “see.”

Currently I am sitting next to what would be considered a site of beauty - Lake Superior. There is a slight breeze and the colors of blue are multiple in layers. The shoreline has carved and scarred rocks and cliffs that have been sculpted by the wind and water. I am invited to come climb into this picture of beauty.

How is this beauty created?

Last night this same location was covered in stormy darkness. Wicked lightening and violent winds stirred the water into angry waves that slammed into the rocky boarders of land. Electricity was lost and I was instantly plunged into dark--the kind where you cannot see your hand in front of your face. As the theatrical show of light and darkness danced through the sky, I felt an invitation to come close, to experience my own vulnerability without fear and to rest in the beauty of darkness and not rush to rescue it with light. To remember the beauty of where I had sat only only hours before, that was now being carved and scarred...

Does scarring hold beauty?
Can darkness play a role in creating beauty?

What I know from the Genesis account of creation is that “...darkness was on the face of the deep...” God pulled the light from that darkness. God was there in that first darkness because it is only one verse later that the light is pulled forth.

Could the beauty of that shoreline have been created without these storms of darkness? 

Does Thomas’ vulnerability invite me to experience the invitation to see my Savior as both scarred and resurrected?

Yes, I want to see beauty, but sometimes I need to be invited to
touch... in order to actually see it IS beauty.

If I avoid all darkness and all scars, maybe I also miss the invitation to experience a beauty that is beyond what I can see...

Becky Patton is the founder of Trueessence: Sexuality & Spirituality and the author of  Holy Sexuality: Beginning with Questions.  She also writes a blog called Holy Sexuality: Reclaiming the Truth of Who We Are.

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