Jesus rose with holes in His hands. If He really did conquer death, why does He still wear its scars? If God loves me enough to die for me, why aren’t things better? Because we’re all carrying the same scars Easter Sunday as we did on Good Friday. It feels like there’s some things even the resurrection from the dead can’t fix.
I spend a lot of time imagining the perfect life. Except, for all the hours wasted daydreaming, most of the time these fantasies lack clarity in the background. The only things in focus are the places I’ve imagined over my scars. I can imagine a better job, but the day to day stuff is blurry. The only thing I’m sure about is that it doesn’t involve the things I hate here. I can imagine a perfect group of friends and us having fun somewhere, but the only thing I’m sure about is that I’m not insecure there. I’ll tell you how my perfect family turns out, but the story always gets hung up on making sure everyone’s clear I don’t have the problems I do now. The rest fades into the background. It’s all some variation of the same. What if I didn’t have scars? When every last dish in your kitchen is broken, what do you do but wish them whole while you eat off the floor? But I guarantee you’re thinking more about the plates than the food you’d be eating on them.
I’ll tell you a secret. Everyone loves the idea of perfection, but nobody actually knows what to do with it. Even when it comes to God. We can only deal with a being so perfect one of two ways. First, define Him by what He is not. He is not messed up the way we are. He is not like the things we hate. Ignore your own biases and prejudices for a second, because they’ll cloud your imagination more than you want to admit, just try to describe an elephant by only talking about what it isn’t. Second, God can be known in the stuff He would give us. Except, a God who is no bigger than your Amazon wishlist and a sitcom troupe for a job and family isn’t that impressive.
God had to become man before we could deal with Him at all. Nobody comes to the Father except through Me, says the Jesus who will carry our scars through the grave and back out. Want to know God? Look to Jesus. He is risen with holes in His hands.
You have a God who would rather be with us and bear our scars than live in a perfect world without us. So He redeemed us. He paid for every sin that lead to our scars by bearing them Himself. He was crucified for you and He is risen, scars and all.
Imagine a life with no broken dishes and no scars all you want, God only wants to sit on the floor and eat with you. That’s called love. It changes how we deal with scars and broken dishes and everything else we try so hard to imagine away. It even changes how we deal with each other.
Peter says keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. A few verses later, he tells us not to be surprised at fiery trial, but rejoice as we share in Christ’s sufferings, that we may also rejoice and be glad as His glory is revealed.
We have this idea true beauty can only exist where there’s nothing ugly to pollute it. If the only life worth living is a perfect one, there’s no room left for love. Love means there’s a lotta beauty down in the pit. Love is what covers sins, fills in the cracks, and leaves the piece unique and beautiful. I’d rather have love than not need it because everything’s so perfect. Keep your mass produced stuff.
I’ll still have scars, and talking about them romantically won’t make them beautiful. The holes in Christ’s hand will always be a shock, but to Thomas, they’re a joy. God died for us, and that’s enough to cover sin. As much as I manage to hate myself and my situation, God gave me people that love me more. They embody His love for me, even if they don’t do it perfectly because of their own sin. He gave me His gifts of Word and Sacrament to cover my own sin and let me look in the mirror and see what God sees. I’m baptized. I’m holy. I’m someone worthy of love in the first place. Love has covered everything wrong, and that’s beautiful.