I love Easter. Not because of the chocolate (I’m not really a big chocolate eater) or the lovely long weekend (I generally am a big fan of any and all days off) but because it is the one point in the year when every church across the world will mourn. We gather together on Good Friday and we grieve. We remember Jesus’ death. His sacrifice. And we are allowed to weep. To lament. To acknowledge the darkness that descended. The tears shed on that day recognise the magnitude of the crucifixion. How unfair. How perfect Jesus was and yet he suffered. He suffered terribly.
In the years of our infertility, Good Friday made me feel less alone. It reminded me that I had permission to shed tears which were hidden so deeply that the force of letting them go may overwhelm me. It stood as a marker in the year when I actually wanted to go to church. I wanted the solemnity and reverence. It helped that most of those services weren’t family orientated. We came alone. We came to the foot of the cross and remembered.
But Easter isn’t just about Good Friday. The weeping, the mourning, the wailing is followed by Sunday. The rejoicing, the celebration, the jubilation. Death is defeated. Jesus is risen.
Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Hand in hand. Tears and rejoicing.
However, the story didn’t end there. The resurrected Jesus went to see his friends. Some knew him straight away. They knew his voice. They recognised him. But others (my kindred spirit Thomas), needed more proof. So Jesus showed him his scars. His hands, feet and side. Scars which told the story of where he had been. And Thomas knew it was him.
This seemingly small exchange with Thomas says so much to me. I long to be known by the people I meet but how willing am I to show my scars? To show who I really am. It is easy to fall into the trap of airbrushing out the blemishes. The scar on the perfect story is easy to forget to mention, to cover over. But what a disservice we do. For some people, it’ll be about looking forward and not backwards. “Let’s not live in the past”, “Are you still going on about that?”, “But now you’ve got your baby that’s all done with”.
Showing our scars isn’t about living in the past, it isn’t about dwelling in the pain longer than needed. It is about letting people know us. Truly know us. The ugly bits, the painful chapters, the heartache, humiliation, fear, bitterness, resentment, loneliness, the route that took us to where we are.
No one said to Jesus: “Oh come on, JC, stop going on about the crucifixion, we’ve all go troubles mate. Put your hands away, we’ve seen your scars. You should see my auntie’s cousin’s friend’s brother’s scars. Now they look painful”.
So, this Easter, I am going to try very hard to honour Jesus and try and show my scars to the friends I am making. To take the opportunities to be recognised, known and in return hope to see their scars.
If you are in a Good Friday time of life, know that you are not on your own. A world is grieving with you.
If you are in an Easter Sunday time of life then rejoice. And remember that your scars tell a story, a story worth sharing.
He is risen! Alleluia!