Journey: Known By The Scars

Read: Whatever the Hardship, Keep Rising Up

As I have already told you, I have benefited greatly from McLaren’s analogy of resurrection as an uprising.  Not surprisingly, he brings the third-quarter readings to an end in a way I would not have anticipated, but in a way we all need to recognize.

He ends with Jesus’ nail-pierced hands and Paul’s marks–both the real-life effect of bearing witness to their faith.  We must not view the Christian uprising as pain free–as a movement beyond struggle and suffering into an artificial “sweetness and light” existence.

Truth be told, the longstanding peace and prosperity that we have taken for granted in North American Christianity has never been the paradigm for most of the world’s Christians.  Untold numbers have lived daily under the shadows of persecution and deprivation because they profess faith in Jesus Christ.  Like Jesus, Paul, and the people of faith in Hebrews 11, they are known by the scars.

Without drifting into predictionism, that may or may not turn out to be true, what we can say for sure is that, because of the resurrection, Life not death is the final word, even if we have to pass through a tomb on the way to it.  The uprising truth is that strength is made perfect in weakness. 

So, the sooner we take off our super-saint outfits, the better.  The sooner we stop lighting the fires and then try to claim others are burning us at the stake, the better. Now, as always, we will be known by the scars.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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