Acts 5, 12-16 – Psalm 118 – Revelation 1, 9-11, 12-13 – John 20, 19-31
April 3, 2016 at Saint Peter & St William Churches in Naples, FL
It is a world of wounded people who have celebrated Easter this year. Wounds are everywhere from Belgium to Paris, from Boston to Pakistan where Christian children celebrating Easter with their families are killed by a suicide bomb. These atrocities bogle the mind and tear at our hearts with the risk that we become numb to all of this and cease to stirred and troubled closing ourselves away from one another. All the while in the background multitudes of Syrian refugees flee their homes to be met by hostility and barbed wire. This church is full of wounds too, perhaps not as dramatic or violent, but there are wounds in every one of us. Wounds from divorce, wounds from tragedies, lost children, broken dreams and hopes, betrayals and unexpected deaths that leave people alone, helpless, and frightened. The whole earth cries out wounded and in pain.
Our response is often to lock the doors and close the windows. Hearts that are broken are too often frozen in grief and closed to healing. Like nations overwhelmed by the flood of refugees, we close the borders and in fear want to protect ourselves so that there can be no more wounds, or hurt, or pain. But into all of that steps Jesus who will not be kept out, and notice how he comes, with his wounds in plain sight, not hidden from view, or minimized. A wounded savior stands among the wounded.
He showed those wounds, but he did not whine about them, exaggerate them, or blame anyone. He did not stand in that room looking for pity either. He came as he always had before to reveal something about the one he called: “Father.” He was not afraid of suffering. He touched lepers. He lifted a woman suffering the humiliation of being caught. He went to Martha and Mary. He wept at the death of his friend. He was moved with pity for a widow whose son had died, and he felt the suffering of a foreigner whose daughter was dead.
To all he revealed a God who did not shy away from human suffering, pretend that it did not exist, or make nothing of the real pain human beings can cause one another. In that room he revealed that in resurrection and new life, the wounds do not disappear, but anger, vengeance, and hatred toward those who caused the pain is useless and will not take away the wounds. He came to reveal that even those who were afraid of wounds and locked themselves away in hiding find no healing and no life. Fear of getting hurt or of having wounds will not be the way for those who love and look at him with his wounds.
That broken and wounded Son of God stands in this room before us today through the words of John’s Gospel. He stands among us with all our wounds to remind us again that there is no hiding, pretending, avoiding, or denying the fact that those who love and who are faithful to God and God’s will cannot be lost, abandoned, or left unhealed. In spite of all the wounds, we shall rise again. In spite of all the doors we close, Christ will find a way to enter and call us out, out to faith, out to life, out to another day in which the glory of the resurrection will shine from our faces and from our hearts.
It is still Easter, my friends, and it will always be Easter for those who can look at a wounded Christ and see the Lord God. It will always be Easter when we look at our wounds without anger, hatred, or blame. It will always be Easter when we offer forgiveness instead of revenge, and it will always be Easter when wounds do not keep us from one another and especially from those who caused them.