Jesus of the Scars

I recently came across this beautiful poem, which seems perfectly suited to the type of conversation I hope to cultivate on this site.

Jesus of the Scars
          – by Edward Shillito

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.

Edward Shillito wrote this after living through World War I, a calamity unlike anything the world of his time had ever seen or expected.*   The world today has wounds of its own, and these words still ring true.  In the face of AIDS, poverty, war, oppression … still we turn to Jesus of the Scars, still we worship a God who can truly empathize with human pain, even as He offers healing.

* To get a sense of Shillito’s impressions of the Great War, scroll down this page of war poems to his heartbreaking poem, “Hardness of Heart.”


~ by h.e.g. on February 16, 2009.

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