Reading Craig Barnes’ The Pastor as Minor Poet, and reflecting on Gregory the Great’s Pastoral Rule, I conflated somethings said by each to become something neither said, though they both carry me to this thought.
Along the line of St. Paul’s reasoning, Gregory writes of the wounds that we bear as good and humbling for us, creating and maintaining dependence, and Barnes discusses the “attractiveness of a scarred soul.” Barnes argues that the still bleeding wounds – what I take to be the therapeutic pulpit – are in many ways overwhelming and unhelpful (and ultimately repelling) to the congregation. But, he writes, that scars are attractive, in so far as they not only humanize and make the pastor relatable, but they show that the word preached has been at work on the preacher as well.
In my own reflections around these ideas and images, scars preach an additional depth of the gospel to the congregation. It is not only that wounds have occurred, but evidence that healing has taken place. Scars only appear when both are true; the wound was severe enough to leave a visible scar, and grace was sufficient not only to stop the bleeding, but regenerate with greater strength than was there before.
Scars are not only evidence that we share pain & history, but evidence that those wounded and bleeding souls are not naïve to hope now.