26/04/2022 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
Wounds We Carry
As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice
“Wounds We Carry”
Like many of you, I look back on my life from time to time and some of the things I did when I was young. Then, like many of you say, “I’m surprised I made it out of childhood!” We do things when we are kids that we would never do as adults. Is it by experience we don’t do them or maybe we’ve got the scars to prove whatever we did wasn’t a good idea when we first did them? I think experience speaks loudly to some of us, for good reason.
Boys especially can get into a lot of trouble by doing things on dares. “I dare you to…..,” fill in the blank. “I dare you to grab onto that electric fence and the one who does it the longest wins!” Wins what???? Even though the prize was bragging rights, and the view we were the toughest, we did it anyway. How about putting a board on a stack of concrete blocks to make a ramp for jumping your bicycle, which by the way wasn’t made for such activity. Flying through the air was exhilarating until the inevitable landing, which most of the time was a crash landing. We all carry these visible scars and are quick to point them out to each other, and then laugh about how we received them.
There are some scars we develop along life’s highway which cannot be seen. These “emotional” scars are sometimes more than just scars – they can be painful injuries. When we fall and scrape our knees as youngsters, the wound heals at first with a scab and maybe a scar follows. The pain of the injury goes away. But what about emotional scars from combat, scars from divorce, or scars from losing a loved one? We can carry these scars for a lifetime.
I’ve seen a different kind of scar by being a pastor. Church scars can be some of the worst and have the most lasting effect of any scar we can receive. They can last for years, decades, and even centuries. The Islamic religion has never forgotten the great Crusades. The Protestants and the Catholics in Ireland have never forgotten the division which began as the “Troubles,” and continues as a struggle between Ireland and Northern Ireland. And even the denominational struggles of the New Testament churches have left scars on many who have become disillusioned with, as they call it, “man-made religion.”
The church of Jesus Christ, the one established through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension has always been under attack by one faction or another. In its early days, Rome tried to snuff out all remnants of the early church but failed. It seems like the more someone tries to weaken a church, the stronger it becomes if and only if the church remembers one thing: to keep its eyes on the reason for the church.
The church exists to carry out the Great Commission spoken by Jesus. We need to spread the Gospel, make disciples, baptize, and gather to worship and praise our Redeemer, the one who took our scars upon Himself over two-thousand years ago.