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A Message For Holy Week
Thomas F. Fischer
- The awe-filled Holy Week has come again. Though Christians throughout the world observe
it in a most traditional fashion, the repeated remembrance is anything but routine.
- The glorious but humble entrance into the Holy City on a donkey is superseded only by a
more humble sight: the blood-filled, pierced, and lifeless body of the One hailed as the
King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Son of God.
- This sight is an unmistakable sign to many. But to all who see it, it is unmistakably a
sign of sacrificial love. This love is not human, could not be human. But it was
demonstrated to humans as a consequence of the greatest inhumane-ness.
- Yet, the cross is a sign of love.
- On one hand it is impossible for the finite, sin-full human to understand the
illimitable, unbounded love of God. Others, torn between reason and revelation, simply
cannot resolve the seemingly irreconcilable. Humankinds sinful reason denies
mans worthiness. Humankinds experience of sin simply confirms the obvious.
Humankind is not worthy of love. Humankind should surely die.
- On the other hand, Gods revelation declares "love." Not just any love.
Divine Love. Sacrificial Love. Yet, though simple, humankind cannot always understand
something so inestimably simple but overwhelmingly complex.
- How can love be demonstrated in spite of such cruelty? How can there be love in such
abuse? How can there be beauty and joy amid such ugliness?
- The answer lies in the story of a childs stuffed bear.
- A five-year-old was given a bear as a birthday present. Immediately the boy and his bear
became attached. The boy named his bear the simplest name he could muster:
"Bear." The boy took his bear everywhere. He took it to school. At naptime, the
bear was always there. He took Bear to a friends home. Bear always ate, slept, and
played with the boy.
- After several months, Bear started to wear out. Stuffing was coming out of his
oft-hugged neck. The legs were loosing up. Bears left eye was barely holding on by a
single thread. Bears fur was dirty and bore countless "scars" from
participating in the roughhousing known to boys.
- One day the boys mother took her son aside. "Son, we have to do something
about this bear. Youve carried, dragged, and hugged him so much that Bear is falling
apart. Why dont we go to the store and get a new bear?"
- "No!" the boy protested. "Why not?" Mom replied. "Hes
falling apart. Whats he good for? After all, hes all tattered, ripped, and
ragged. Why would you want to keep him?
- "Because," the boy explained, "the only reason Bear has rips and tears
and dirt are because Bear has never left me. When I fall, Bear falls. When I hurt, Bear
hurts. I have healed. But Bear cant. I love Bear. How can I give Bear up and throw
him away when every time I see Bears rips and tears, I see the marks of love?"
- This child knows love not by words but by the scars that it leaves.
- The message of Christs atonement on the cross is a message of hope. But it is also
a message of scars. The nail wounds in His hands and feet, the back stripped of skin, the
forehead pierced with thorns, and the beaten and abused face and body leave scars.
- Amid the dripping blood flowing from His hands and side, Christians see more than just
scars. As from the perspective of a child, they see beyond the scars. They see love
because they see the scars.
- The scars cry out louder than the stones. They cry out Gods message of hope, of
joy, of life and, of course, love.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay
down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (NIV)
- Christs love for us is not simply "love." It is a love beyond all
understanding. It is a love which is beyond any doubt. It is nothing less than
"Scarred Love." This love is pure grace. It is Grace given for you.
- Our ministries often involve hurts of many kinds. Often we are left scarred. Like St.
Paul, we bear on our bodies "the marks ["stigma"] of Jesus" (Galatians
- The word "marks" ["stigma"] referred to a practice in the Roman
army. Soldiers were commonly "branded" as being under a specific commanding
officer. The branding was often caused by cutting a mark in the soldiers flesh. This
mark, "stigma," identified them with their leader and their mission. But the
mark was also a scar. It could never be removed without greater scarring or injury.
- Those scars which remain in us are the "stigma" which brand us to Christ.
Regardless of the scarswhether physical, emotional or spiritualand
irrespective of the burden of dealing with these scars, the "stigma" remains. We
are our Leaders. We are identified in His mission.
- Our strength for this mission comes not merely from the Leaders words. It comes
from His love. And we know His love the same way He knows our love: the scars.
- The message of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is a message of pain, death,
and scars. But unlike pain and death, scars imply hope and healing. For scars do not occur
unless healing has occurred. Scars cover the wound, complete the healing and leave their
mark. Scars then become a reminder of love, healing and hope.
- The pain of ministry will not always exist. The bleeding will not always linger. The
weakness will not always overpower us. For God will send healing. In love He will give us
resurrection and renewal. With that renewal He will give us a scar. As with St. Paul, that
"scar" marks our mission and our faithfulness in Christs mission of grace.
- The love we preach and the love we bear is a unique love. It is a scarred love. Such is
the love of God.
- May your Holy Week and Easter proclamation be one which proclaims this scarred love to
bring healing to all Gods people throughout the world.
- Thomas F. Fischer
Index Articles 1-49
Articles 50-99 Articles
100-149 Articles 150-199
200-249 Articles 250-299
Articles 300-349 Articles
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was revised on:
Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:04:47 PM