This Eastertide, I find myself experiencing the resurrection stories with a particular curiosity about the physical body of Jesus. So I was delighted that, at this year’s Clergy Conference, the Rev’d Dr Rob James talked about just that. He suggested the reason Jesus’ scars remain on his resurrected body is because those scars are fundamental to his identity; evidence of God’s character in the human life of Jesus lived to its fullest. Our own resurrected bodies, he suggested, will perhaps also be a physical reflection of our truest identity in God.
I love this concept, because many of us – perhaps MOST of us – can think of ways in which our human lives have been less than an expression of our truest identity. By our own sin, or that of others, all of us can think of how what “could have been” or “should have been” has been lost or may not even have been an option at all. We may have abandoned hope in that identity, or are perhaps afraid of allowing others to see those hidden aspects of us only God sees. How wonderful then to imagine God gently holding that unbroken image of who we should or could have been in store for us, ready to gift us with the treasure of a body that reflects all our fullest identity in Christ, even if some of it remains completely unknown to us in this life.
And if we can imagine – even for a brief moment – what that might be for ourselves, perhaps we may also begin to imagine what it would look like to see each other as God sees us, in the glory of perfect belovedness; in the unhindered “us-ness” of God’s imagination.