We waited for the coming of Jesus through Advent. We celebrated the birth of Jesus at Christmas. And we are now in the season of Epiphany where Christ continues to reveal Himself to the Nations. I have always looked at Epiphany as the season of seeking Christ through glimpses of joy. Where joy is, there Christ will be found. Then, that joy becomes my gift to bring.
Opportunity still abounds for glimpses of joy, but what if the places where we explore need to be expanded. Through Scripture we know that Christ also appeared in places that did not feel of joy. He appeared in the locked rooms of fear, in homes of grief, on a road of shock where he was not recognized, and by a coal fire of guilt where he was once denied.
And so, I wonder if this year we are being called to look and go deeper. Just as Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds, what if Jesus is offering us that same invitation now. I wonder about this, because it seems that the more we try to return to the ‘before times’ of the pandemic we realize that the ‘after times’ isn’t actually the same. And so, I think it is important to allow ourselves to look deep into the wounds of these past few years through the very wounds of Christ.
Why must it be through the way of the wounds? Haven’t we already experienced enough? Yet as we acknowledge and feel our wounds, we become more able to engage with the wounds of others. We know that the experience and the impacts of these past few years was and is and will not be the same for all. We have heard so many stories both of good news moments and of devastation. And some stories will never have the chance to be told.
These past few years have been a time of such isolation. And from this isolation we have emerged with a greater sense of disconnection, weariness, unacknowledged grief, and heightened anxiety. These are symptoms of trauma and trauma can impact one’s ability to engage the world as one did before the events. The after will not be the same as the before.
And so, I wonder, in this season of Epiphany, if we are being asked to follow the contours of Christ’s wounds. To gently reach the center where we also meet our own wounds and the wounds of others. That does not sound very joy-filled at least not as we begin. Through these wounds and these wounded places, we encounter the One who longs to whisper the release of pain and the heaviness of heart. We once again find the protection of restful times of sleep and the healing powers of deep breath.
To enter these wounds, we see glimpses that we did not expect. We discover we are not alone in our stories that now contain possibility and new imagination. From the depths of our wounds, we find a stillness that comes from the very breath of Christ. And we, too, begin to hear and feel Christ’s words to the disciples, “peace be with you.”
This healing breath of peace invites each part of the body to begin to release the impacts of these past few years. Something begins to shift so that our stories can now be shared through words, feelings and/or sensations. The self becomes freer and has the capacity to engage with the world around. Wounds meet wounds in way that bring understanding and agency of action.We begin to have glimpses of hope, wonder, safety, and a new kind of joy.
And so, my friends, may it be our very wounds that become the very gifts we bring to Jesus. May it be through Christ’s wounds that we are healed. And through the healing of our wounds, may we become beacons of His revealing. Amen.