Jesus of the Scars

This is a poem by Edward Shillito (1872-1948) which, as a recovering self-injurer, has special meaning to me:

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.

I read a book once which pointed out that, to physically disabled people the image of Jesus as the Impaired God, the God with hands and feet which have been pierced and rendered disabled, is a very comforting one. I find focussing on Jesus’ scars as substitutes for making my own is helpful, as is imagining that when I cut myself, that I might be cutting Christ, for he lives in me and I in him, and suffers with me. This is not to heap guilt on those who are currently self-harming, because I know that there is more than enough guilt out there already, but a suggestion. The only resource I know on the internet about self harm from a Christian perspective is the Lysamena Project on Self Injury, if you are suffering with self harm, perhaps looking there might be helpful.

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