Good Friday reveals the truth of open, pulsing wounds for Jesus and reminds us that wounds are real for all of us. Dying and being wounded are a part of the story of Jesus. It is also a part of our own lives. Jesus didn’t run from death though he didn’t want it. He begged God to spare him of the “cup of death,” but it still happened.
When my husband was dying, he fought hard to keep alive. We fought with him. Death was not welcome. But it still happened. After death, wounds surface that cannot be denied. Being hurt and wounded is a universal reality of our faith and of our lives. Don’t we often spend time with the wounds of our past? Don’t we have friends and colleagues who struggle with their wounds?
Our world, and even our Christian world that has the model of a wounded Christ, often prefers to deny our wounds and vulnerability. We are often expected not to show our hurts. We are to be in control. We are labeled weak if we show our hurts. Or on the other hand, our wounds can make us embittered victims. How many times have we heard, “I will never, never forgive him/her/whomever for betraying me like that.” Eventually, we may learn that if we repeat them over and over the wounds will suffocate us. Or we can learn that as we name and face them, they can be our teachers. Jesus had wounds. Why would we ever think we need to deny or hid our wounds when he didn’t? I know in my own ministry, I have more frequently ministered from my wounded places than in my perceived places of success.
Wounds just are. They happen. Sometimes we bring them on with our unwise, foolish life choices and sometimes they come by just living life. Isn’t it a gift to know that wounds don’t need to be our shame? Isn’t it a gift to know that wounds don’t need to make us bitter or victims and judgmental of others?
Jesus had hurting, harsh wounds. We, too, have been wounded. Good Friday reminds us that Jesus knows our wounds because he has been there.
Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson