Friday, April 14, 2006

known by the scars

Known By The Scars

Mother Mary cried as she held heaven in her arms
For the shadow of the scar she saw was clear
As her own bewildered baby lay weeping for the world
Whose frightened tears would free us all from fear

Chorus:
The marks of death that God chose never to erase
The wounds of loves eternal mark
When the kingdom comes, with its perfected sons
He will be known by the scars

For a time he sought to tell the world he was the way
That God the Father had a human heart
With his own holy hands he sought to touch and heal their scars
But they chose to tear those gentle hands apart

What was there to wipe away the tears
That burned the holy eyes of God
As he looked upon his one and only Son
Who'd never sinned nor lied
Yet was crucified

(Chorus)

And after they had slain him and laid him in the grave
And the ones he loved had fled into the dark
Then his love and power raised him
God won the victory
But they only recognized him by the scars

(Chorus)

Michael Card

Of many favorite parts in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ", perhaps my most favorite part is the end (for some of you, that is the best part: the end, since you don't like the film, which I would agree does have its flaws). Jesus has just "awakened" out of his "sleep" of death. What is clear (if too much so) is the scar on his hand.

We remember that Jesus, after the resurrection was recognized by his breaking of the bread before his disciples. But scars in his hands and side were present, if not that easily noticed. Jesus showed them to Thomas, inviting him to touch them, to cast out his doubts.

Jesus suffered for us. The great war that he won was through the cross. By his victory all God's world is to be made new- a new creation. This is why he could say just before he commits his spirit to the Father: "It is accomplished."

Jesus. You won the victory for us. By the cross. By your death. And by your resurrection. Thank you for your great love to us. Thank you for your scars for us. We worship you, and give our lives to you. To follow you as your community and become like you in your death. That we might bring your life to all. Amen.

5 comments:

Cappa said...

Ted,
(Sorry for the rather lengthy post)

As a child I was taught the lessons of Christ and the role played by all who helped to fulfill the scriptures. And, as a child, I was also taught to understand, and recognize, but, never question or dismiss these facts from the bible.

Now, as a man, I am forced to objectively question the very premise as to why on earth or even heaven, would a father allow for his son to be killed by the hands of man; A creature that he himself created. To comprehend this, let’s have a “for instance,” shall we?

If I were a father, and was blessed with say, three children, would allowing two of them to kill the other to show my love for them, actually accomplish that? My answer would be no. well, what if it wasn’t for love, but rather redemption or perhaps forgiveness? Well then perhaps the death of my son could allow me to offer that salvation, but, again would it not be justified to take place of my son?

Your response may include the line; God is within Jesus, well, isn’t that true for every human and their parents, furthermore, Jesus took the human form, therefore all the emotions and pain was real, and felt by him, not the father…

Moreover, under the pretense that god sent his only son to be the savior of man and to cleanse the sins of man, by committing a sin to do so, is just not logical.

The words are sincere, and the reasons given are heartfelt, but unmistakably illogical.

Take care,
CappA

Ted Gossard said...

Cappa,

Thanks for your thoughts here. And I think it is fine to ask questions about what we're taught and about what Scripture says.

For me an answer to your thoughts on the illogic of God in providing salvation through a sinful act- is free will. God has given the human race the choice to obey him or not, to love him- in response to his love, or not. Free will is taken very seriously by God. Since he created it in humanity. But the bad comes with it, along with the good- as we see in our world.

Humanity is fallen, in that we are "naturally" now inclined to reject and dismiss any claims or salvation from God. But, like the story in the garden in Genesis, God comes, looking for us, anyhow.

In Jesus' story of "the prodigal son"- we find a father who is more than happy to receive his wayward son, who had earlier wished his death- in getting his part of the estate (ahead of time). And Jesus' story reveals a god who is radically different with the god as understood by Jews then and different from their own social conventions.

Cappa, what you say makes excellent sense as we look at us humans in our families. But God, if Scripture is true, is beyond us in that he is Creator, we're creature. Then he becomes, in Jesus, a creature, so as to redeem us back to himself. Even through a sacrifice that- on Jesus' part is holy, on the part of the Romans and Jewish leaders involved- as well as Judas (who could've repented and received immediate forgiveness) is, yes, a heinous crime and sin. But God chooses to use that- the greatest (I would say) sin of all, to bring about the greatest act of salvation of all- for all. For the very ones who did it.

In this is God's love for us shown. That while we were still sinners, Christ did die for us. Not when we were righteous. That God hasn't abandoned us- humanity, but pursues us in his Son.

(By the way, the Father and the Son in the best Christian theology, are one in heart and while the Son is unique in suffering as a human, the Son and the Father are really one in heart and nature, wanting to bring all humanity into their communion of love and activity.)

Thanks Cappa. As usual you have very good thoughts and I surely don't do justice in my answers as far as really addressing what you're saying. I tried. Sorry about the length. But I don't mind lengthy comments from you. They're more than welcomed. Thanks again for stopping by.

Ted

Cappa said...

Ted,

"But God chooses to use that- the greatest (I would say) sin of all, to bring about the greatest act of salvation of all- for all. For the very ones who did it."

Very well said, perhaps the best response I’ve heard yet on this.
I suppose even the greatest sin; committed against his own son can still earn you his love and salvation...

Perhaps, in my, apparent, narrow-minded view, I would find it easier to accept if it wasn't his son, but rather himself that decided to come down. (If that makes sense.)

TC,
Neil

Ted Gossard said...

Neil,

The mystery of the Trinity. Not easy to unravel. In a certain sense it is God in totality who comes down and becomes human and dies for us. The Father is one with the Son and the Spirit. So that what the Son suffers the Father suffers along with the Spirit. In other words, the Three cannot be separated as the One in the Triunity which is the Trinity. Mystery before which we must bow, I believe. The point here is that in one true sense the Father does come down in the person of his Son. And the Son lived and died as one heart and life with the Father.

Thanks for your kind and thought-full response.

Blessings to you,
Ted

Ted Gossard said...

not easy to unravel = really, impossible to unravel

Ted