The Authority of an Open Wound

The Authority of an Open Wound

April 06, 2013
Written by Daniel Hazard

John 20:20

"...showed his hands and his sides."

Donna Schaper

Jesus used his wounds as a kind of authority.   He showed his disciples and let them touch. 

Lots of people try to imitate him. Some succeed and some fail.  John McCain, using the authority of his war wound, is in favor of gun control. Valerie Russell once said to me, "Sometimes Donna you just have to walk with an open wound." Father Greg Boyle, who runs an organization of kids in gangs called "Homeboy Industries," has buried 163 kids.  "I welcome my wounds, how can I help the wounded if I don't welcome my own wounds?"  An organizer in the Sanctuary Movement recently said to me, upon news that he might have a personal reprieve, that he didn't know if he could keep organizing.  How could he organize without his own wound, as a point of identification?

Jesus used his wounds as a kind of authority, to show people he had "been there, done that."  Some of us just nurse our wounds and don't put them to use. Others let wounds so permanently wound them that they want more wounding. 

To be more Jesus-like, we can drag our wounds into the Easter Story.  During Eastertide we have a choice.  We can open the graves and rise from them, carrying burdens forward, with each other.  Or we can get stuck. Once hurt, we can go on to hurt.  The choice is ours.  Grave-digging is a low paid occupation.  Rising, now that is a job with benefits.


Wounded one, teach us to rise from our wounds, to find each other, to connect and to share burdens.  Amen.

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her blog, Grace at Table, at
What's your experience of Jesus? The Jesus Diaries: Who Jesus is to Me, by the writers of the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional.

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