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Letter from the Superintendent

Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is myself.

Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is myself.

The scarred and wounded Jesus appears to his friends in one of the most moving post-resurrection narratives. They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. I can hardly blame them. After spending time in the tomb, Jesus must have looked a mess … ghastly and ghostly. His naïve humanity is evident in his wild smile at seeing his friends and knowing how worried they must have been to have missed him for seventy-two hours. Come on, Jesus, this was not a kidnapping … you were executed and buried!

I can see Jesus' happy smile turn into a sheepish grin as his predicament becomes all too obvious to him. The disciples, clutching each other for support in wide-eyed terror, think he is a ghost! In desperation, he whips out his hands. He had unconsciously concealed from view. You can't blame him … 6-inch nails have been hammered into those hands. It is amazing how we can be self-conscious of our hands even when our faces are worse. Then he kicks off his shoes. We all can imagine the shame of this. We hardly want to show off our feet at the best of times, let alone when bruised and bloodied. Desperate situations call for desperate measures! If they can't recognise your face, they might recognise your hands and feet!

In a few pithy and terse verses, Dr Luke reminds us of Jesus' love for his friends and willingness to reassure and comfort them in their fear and confusion. Despite the scars and wounds that bore witness to his suffering and death, Jesus approached his disciples with a gentle and compassionate spirit, seeking to alleviate their doubts and fears. Neither obnoxious nor manipulative … simply loving and caring greatly. Perhaps that is what you need today. Perhaps that is what the world needs today. Perhaps this is something you can offer to someone. Perhaps this is something you can be grateful for from somebody. I do not doubt that each one of us, from time to time, shows our wounded hands and feet to somebody. I do not doubt that each one of us has seen the wounded hands and feet of somebody. I pray that you may be moved to gentleness and compassion in these sacred moments.

Amid their astonishment and disbelief, Jesus revealed the marks of his crucifixion, showing his hands and feet as a visible reminder of the sacrifice he had made for them and all humanity. Through these tangible signs of his suffering, Jesus sought to bridge the gap between doubt and belief, fear and faith, despair and hope. What opportunities do we see to offer this amazing ministry? When have we received such ministry ourselves? Does it lead to empowerment, healing, and restoration, whether corporate or personal?

We may encounter moments of doubt, fear, and confusion that threaten to overshadow and overwhelm us. Like the disciples, we may struggle to recognise the presence of the resurrected Christ in our midst, especially amid our own trials and tribulations. Yet, just as Jesus revealed his scars to his friends as a sign of his enduring love and faithfulness, he also invites us to acknowledge our own wounds and vulnerabilities, trusting that we may encounter the healing and transformative power of his grace in our brokenness.

May we, like the disciples, open our hearts and minds to the presence of the scarred and wounded Jesus in our midst, recognising that it is through our own brokenness that we may come to experience the fullness of his resurrected life and love. May the world and all creation be healed through our mutual woundedness and compassion for each other. Amen.

With love from the Epworth Manse in Norton of Stockton-on-Tees

Contact Vincent Jambawo: 07483 277694

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