Like some horrific losses, and some beatific moments that transcend even our imaginations, the events of Good Friday and Easter are vastly beyond words. Sometimes a poet captures something words put otherwise cannot.
Shortly after WW1, the Great War to end all war, when its memories and pains were still fresh, a book was published. Near the beginning is the text from John,
"He showed them his hands and his side." And this poem follows.
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 to-day 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.
A comment on the poem by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple:
Only a God in whose perfect being pain has its place can win and hold our worship; for otherwise the creature (with his pains) would in fortitude surpass the Creator."