The mark of the nails

         “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
         and put my finger in the mark of the nails
         and my hand in his side,
         I will not believe.”

                        —John 20.25

The true redeemer is the Wounded One
with the stigmata of the oppressed.
Unless you find him among the incarcerated,
hear her voice in the trafficked and abused,
you have not found redemption, but relief.
Unless you sense others’ pain in your ease,
someone’s death by drone strike in your security,
someone’s suffering in your white privilege,
someone’s poverty in your cheap fruit—
unless you see the marks of the nails,
you have not found the Crucified and Risen One.

Unless you see the Beloved’s brokenness
in your fearful desires and hurtful habits
it’s not your Savior who has risen.
Unless your Christ bears the scars
of your own behavior it’s not you they will save,
not your sin borne off to hell, your betrayal forgiven,
not your life changed, but somebody else’s.

And unless your despair is swallowed up in forgiveness
and your greed changed by gratitude
and your heart emptied out in love and courage
you don’t believe, you just wish.

But when this drops you to your knees, blessed are you.
Rejoice, for you stand before the Living One
who offers you new life.

   —April 5, 2018

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