I’ve been so grateful since I heard, a few years ago, that Easter isn’t a single day but Eastertide, the whole fifty day stretch from Easter Sunday to Pentecost. I need fifty days, I need a whole lifetime, to explore the truth of Christ's resurrection as it stretches backward and forward to encompass and change everything.
The words came last year as we approached Lent:
gold around stability
bind flesh to bone
and glory to fragility.”
The Spirit-wind pauses, hovers, and glory is bound to fragility, God to our flesh, in a young woman’s womb.
The God-man baby grows and lives, suffers and dies, and it isn’t just in that one man that divinity is bound to humanity. He gathers and holds our wounds, lets them settle deep and they pierce right through, pierce his feet and his side too, and in His suffering and death He takes our sin and our pain and makes them His own, binds us to Him, our fragile flesh to Glory.
And when He rises from the dead to walk again among us, then rises through the clouds to the side of His Father, He carries us with Him, still wearing our flesh.
"Then you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:20)
He rises still wearing His wounds, our wounds, His scarred hands outstretched in blessing as He ascends.
A fellow pilgrim shares of rolling his own wounds around in his hands like dark pearls, and of the invitation to “drop them in this open place of good and glory” which Christ's loving presence has created.
Jesus, how do I drop them?
I see the baby again, reflexively grasping whatever touches her palm. Jesus picks her up, settles her to sleep. Her grip loosens. He’s calling me to come close, reminding me that only as I know myself loved and learn to rest in that place of grace will my need to cling ease.
I listen again to my fellow pilgrim and watch Jesus “gathering the dark pearls of my wounds (when finally I could let them go), and stringing a necklace to place lovingly, lightly, round my neck in a place of honour and beauty.” (Doug Webber)
He's giving me a glimpse into a grace bigger than I expect. Even resurrection doesn’t erase all scars; wounds aren’t meant to disappear without a trace. Instead of discarding, grace transforms. Places of pain fill with joy, places of death, life. Places of fragility, backlit, are discovered to be thin places where the greatest glory shines through. Even wounds once festering with self can become, in His love, scars which shimmer with Him.
Two days ago I saw this necklace of grace on a woman who hid for two and a half years while she recovered from trauma; I marveled at the gracious wisdom she now speaks out of God’s presence in her own story. I’ve noticed it lately on a friend who calls weekly to listen and encourage; she understands because she remembers God meeting her in her own deep places.
This is one of the gifts of resurrection: we don’t need to fear our wounds. Those holes in your hands might become the very places Christ’s love flows through to bring life to another, those dark pearls of your scars a bright necklace speaking hope to all who see it.
Images of the dark pearls and necklace by Doug Webber. Used with permission.