The Beautifully Broken Body of Christ

Yesterday I realized something…

Let me set the stage: I was making lunch for a community gathering/retreat we were having. I had all these thoughts bouncing in my head about the communion experience I was helping to plan and about our community and what it means to live in community. I was feeling nervous about the time we were going to have together. The culmination of all this was the thought that would lead to my realization:

 “This is my body broken for you.”

With each tear of the lettuce and each cut of the knife the thought came:

“This is my body broken for you.”

As I set out the elements for communion:

“This is my body broken for you.”

And then I started to think about and pray for different members of our faith community the thought came again even louder this time:

“This is my body broken for you.”

I had never before thought about that statement as being about anything besides the bread of communion and Jesus own physical body broken on the cross. But suddenly it dawned on me that we have TWO things that we are told ARE the body of Christ Jesus: the bread at communion and the church (or the family of God). And it suddenly felt very real to me that when Jesus says, “This is my body broken for you” He is talking about how he himself will be broken, and about how the bread will be broken, AND about how his church and the members of his church will be broken. And this weekend I experienced that a little bit.

I feel like I experienced my brokenness and my past story and my personal expectations rub up against the brokenness and past stories and expectations of others in my community.

And it hurt…

… but today I find myself thanking God for it.

Thank you, Lord that I am part of your broken body!

Thank you for the darkness and the tension and the differences.

Thank you for hurting me so that I could more clearly see my own biases and brokenness.

Thank you for a community that is willing to be open with one another, and share our hearts and hurts with each other even when that’s really hard and when doing it might be really difficult.

Thank you for a community that is willing to love each other, and love the differences we see in each other even when those differences hurt us.

Thank you for a community that is willing to stay in it together instead of choosing the easier path.

Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you, for sending your son to be broken like we are.

Lord, I know and I trust that you are a God of restoration and redemption and resurrection. I know and trust that you love to take that which is broken and make it whole again. That’s what I see you being about and that is what I want to be about. Lord, forgive me for the ways that I have broken instead of redeemed, forgive me for the ways I have done that even tonight. Lord, continue to work in me - don’t give up on me - work in me to take all my broken pieces and make me whole. Lord, work in us as a community and make us whole. Make us a community that is about restoration and redemption and resurrection.

Tonight I still feel a bit sad and tired, but I also feel deep hope.

Tonight I was reminded of why I choose to be a part of this community, and why I love each of the unique members of this community.

Tonight I experienced more of what it means to actually live in real community.

Tonight I feel thankful.

Tonight I am encouraged to be part of God’s broken body and I look expectantly towards the resurrection and wholeness that is coming.

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany