Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The scarred God

I've just started trying to get to grips with 2 Corinthians - or rather, to understand it more so that it grips me. Listening to Mark Dever on it, he spoke of how the gospel completely reprogrammes our concept of God - a God who revealed Himself in weakness, rather than wow-ing us with how impressive He is. Dever quoted a poem of Edward Shillito (1872-1948), a British Free Church minister in time of war:
Jesus of the Scars

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow;
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars we claim Thy grace.

If when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know today what wounds are; have no fear;
Show us Thy Scars; we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

It speaks powerfully of the goodness of the scarred God. Also reminded me of a song of Martyn Joseph about the 'strange way' of the cross, which culminates in the line: "So unlike the Holy to end up full of holes." There is no truth and no hope in the generic impersonal power of the universe assumed to be the subject of the word God. There is only truth and hope in the God who was crucified and resurrected, and bears the scars to this day.

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