In Eastertide, we are reminded that Jesus’ resurrected body bears the wounds inflicted upon him by other people – wounds which cost him his very life – and yet is wonderfully given life back by the Spirit of God, who breathes life into every living thing.
This body, then, is both deeply wounded and enlivened by the very Spirit of God.
It is so deeply wounded and so enlivened by the very Spirit of God that one of Jesus’ closest friends, John, would describe Jesus as looking like a Lamb that was slaughtered, yet alive and considered worthy of equal recognition with God by all creation (Revelation 5).
Another of Jesus’ followers, Paul, described the Church as ‘the body of Christ’ (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 3, 4, 5). What kind of a body would that be? One that is undeniably wounded, and yet honoured by God and worthy of honour.
When we gather with other people for the purpose of coming together before God’s throne, to glimpse with wonder something of God’s purposes which stretch beyond our imagining, we come as a body corporate that is both wounded and worthy of honour.
And yet it is so easy to fail to recognise that those around me are wounded, as I am (those wounds are most often not immediately visible, not least given the masks we wear in front of others), and to fail to remember that they are worthy of honour, as I am. It is easy to assume that those around me are less wounded than I am, and to conclude that they are less worthy of honour. It is easy to assume the worst about others, without a second- and more generous thought regarding their actions or motives. Wisdom tells me that most people I meet are doing the very best they can today (which might be a little more, or a little less, than yesterday or tomorrow; but in any case is almost certainly more than I see) and want to do so most of the time (though we all have bad days).
I am increasingly concerned by how much church-bashing I see Christians partake in on social media. We are a body, and it is a form of self-harm.
Jesus gave Thomas the opportunity to see for himself the extent of his [Jesus’] wounds; and Thomas responded by giving due honour. Perhaps if we took the time to truly recognise one another, we would – to our great surprise – discover that we are an Easter people.