This week, we reflect on Jesus breaking the bread as he instituted the practice of Communion. Over the last few weeks, we saw that Jesus invited a diverse group of misfits to his feast, he chose them intentionally, and he blessed them so that they would be a blessing to others. This week takes a more somber tone, as we wade into the waters of brokenness. It is interesting to note that in the center of this meal, this taking, blessing, breaking, giving, and speaking, at its very core, is brokenness.
Simone Weil says it this way, “There are only two things that can pierce the human heart—beauty and affliction.” We have seen the beauty of Jesus choosing the bread and blessing it. We eagerly receive this chosen and blessed meal, but what Jesus does next can be uncomfortable when considered from our perspective.
He breaks the bread.
Brokenness is not a strange concept; we feel it frequently. Everyday there is a sense of disturbance, an out-of-order-ness. Things are not the way they should be. Our personal stories bear the scars of past hurt and our distorted reactions to hurt. There is a shared sense that something is askew. We long for more, for order to chaos, for logic to explain why the pain and suffering is so prevalent.
Not many of us would profess that we are eager to receive brokenness. We do not typically seek out being broken or consuming brokenness. However, this is precisely what Jesus models for us.
Jesus makes it clear; whoever would follow him must take up his cross. He who seeks his life will lose it. This Kingdom of Inversion calls us to embrace that which we strive to avoid: brokenness.
The brokenness need not be a place of fear. The path through brokenness has already been blazed by the One who breaks the bread. As we have seen in each step of this meal, Jesus acts with intention.
How can there be intention in brokenness? What possible gain can be gleaned from walking with Jesus into the midst of our hurt and the pains of others? I believe Paul can offer some insights here:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor 1:3-4)
God uses the broken bread of our daily lives to multiply his blessings to the masses. Can you feel the Creator’s creativity in this? God, knowing how holistically sin will stain his perfect world, uses the imperfect experiences of his people to display his perfect love to those who do not yet know him. There is much to feast on in this affliction and comfort.
The soil must be broken before new crops spring forth. Old ruins torn down before new construction can begin. In the same way, the Bread of Life will be broken so that all who accept may feast.
Jesus breaks that bread so that it may be shared with all. Imagine with me what our communities could look like if we, as a chosen and blessed people, renewed our focus so that all of our hurts and insecurities could be leveraged for the common good of our neighbors.