Last week I went to see the animated movie Cars 2 with two of the grandkids. It was not an exception to the rule that sequels are rarely as good as the original (I really liked Cars), but it had its moments.
The lead character of Cars was a bright shiny red sports car named Lightning McQueen. The second film centers more around McQueen’s best friend, a tow truck named Tow Mater. (I know, but hang with me for a minute.)
Mater is, in many ways, the opposite of McQueen. He’s rusty, unsophisticated, unpolished (socially and physically). He gets caught up in an international spy adventure and needs to have his appearance changed. He is willing to be a different color, to lose the rust and have a shiny paint job. But when he’s told they’ll need to repair his dents so the ruse will work, he refuses. Those dents aren’t just for looks, he says. Each one reminds him of one of his close calls, usually with his best friend. The dents may make him imperfect, but they are part of who he is.
At our church, we sometimes use this invitation to the Lord’s Table: Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
The invitation is to everyone, not just some supposed few who have ever been tired or had a burden to bear. We all come bearing something, don’t we? A sadness. A worry. An ache.
Sometimes the dents are obvious to everyone. Sometimes we are pretty good at hiding them. But all of us are dented in some way or other.
Each one of those hurt places can conjure up a memory or fear of losing someone or something so important that our breath catches at the very thought of it.
The dents make us who we are. They make us human.
After the resurrection, Jesus freely showed the disciples his wounds. Not only did they prove who he was; they showed his unity with us in our humanness.
Jesus invites us to come—with our dents—to God. There our weariness and burdens are acknowledged, as we are served by the hands of the Wounded One.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2011