10th April 2024


Two contrasting forces – first the idea of built-in obsolescence and making something for today which will not last until tomorrow, essential aspects of what Pope Francis has described as our ‘Throw-away Culture’. Contrasted with this there is the old war-time slogan of ‘Make do and mend’, or the work of charitable repair cafés, where you are encouraged to bring items needing repair which a team of skilled volunteers will seek to put right whilst you have a coffee. Heading up this social facility is The Repair Shop on television where often what is sought is not a recovery of initial perfection but restoration to serviceable usage, leaving some dents and scratches as testimony to the history that has befallen the object, telling it’s unique story.

This seems to me to align with Christian theology: the risen Christ is also a wounded Christ as Thomas, in his doubts, discovered [John 20, 26 -9], or as Peter confesses, ‘By his wounds you have been healed’ [1 Peter 2, 24].

Nail-printed hands and a wounded side are important. The fact that the traces of Jesus’ wounds aren’t simply wiped away, allows us to find meaning in our suffering and losses, leading to the claim that wounded people make the best healers, because they know what it means to be wounded:- “I’m a better healer not in spite of my wounds, but because of my wounds.”

All this may lead us to the conclusion that if Jesus showed us his scars, even after his Resurrection, then maybe we can learn to integrate pain and suffering into our lives in a way that frees us from wasting energy spent in denial and shame. Well might we sing?

Crown him the Lord of love: Behold his hands and side,
Rich wounds yet visible above in beauty glorified:
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.

John Briggs