And when Jesus had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. - Luke 24:40, NRSV
In a story (re)told by the Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, two men appeared at heaven's gate and were ushered into St. Peter's presence.
One of the men looked just terrific. Tan, fit, a nice head of hair, clean nails, great suit and shoes. Except for the fact that he was dead he could have been in G. Q. He smiled confidently at Peter.
The other man limped into St. Peter's presence. He had a welt on the back of his head. His clothes looked worn (and not because he had purchased the "distressed" model). His teeth were imperfect and there was dirt beneath his nails. The look on his face suggested he thought he was in the wrong place.
St. Peter assayed the two people before him. He then turned to the first and asked, "Where are your wounds? Was there nothing down there worth fighting for?"
When the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples, he bore his wounds. They were evident on his hands and feet. Resurrection did not mean life's wounds and scars had been air-brushed. They knew it was him because he was wounded.
And you and me? Are we bearing the wounds, the signs of battle, of something worth fighting for on this our earthly pilgrimage?
Just as we ought not be ashamed of the signs of mortal aging in our bodies, we ought not regret or deny the wounds we have suffered as disciples of Jesus.
They are the sign that here there was something worth fighting for and that you fought the good fight.
Help us to claim, even to be proud of, the wounds and the wear and tear, acquired in the battle for truth and justice, for grace and faith. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. He is the author of many books, including What’s Theology Got to Do With It: Convictions, Vitality and the Church. You can read Tony's "Weekly Meditation" and "What's Tony Thinking?" at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.