Broken Pieces

We stood in a circle and paused.

The busyness of the day was past, and night hushed around us, here on the back porch.
Evenings in Honduras are beautiful, tropical, and mysteriously wild…
The bare bulb glowed warm above us, and the night sounds surrounded us.
I looked around at our circle; a small group of people all waiting expectantly.
For communion.
To take part in this moment of breaking bread. It’s something we do, together.

“Take, eat,” Jesus had said, after blessing the bread, “for this is my body.”
And then He gave thanks and handed them a cup of wine, saying
“Drink, all of you. For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the forgiveness of many…”
(Matthew 26:26-28)

I’ve often pondered this thing of communion. It makes me squirm.
Why did He say to take and eat His flesh, to drink His blood?
This crushing at our hands, this being poured out like wine, feels so cannibal like.
Why does He ask us to remember Him constantly in this way?
But He hands us the cup and asks, “Will you share in my sufferings, even unto the death?”

I’ve never viewed it in the same way since we lost Isaac.
This thing of death, of burying.
Even planting tulip bulbs is different now, the sound of the shovel reminds me of that long ago burial.
I place the bulbs deep in the cold earth, and take a deep breath.
We are so temporary. Just a breath. Like a flower, lasting a day or two.

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Daniel asked Peter to lead a song, and the small little group pulled a little tighter.
Our voices blended in the cool night air, and it was beautiful.

“Would you be poured out like wine upon the altar for me?
Would you be broken, like bread, to feed the hungry?
Would you be so one with Me that you would do just as I will,
Would you be light, and life, and love My word fulfill?”

We sing words, breathtaking words of commitment, many times without even thinking.
But the plea was clear, and we answered it,

“Yes, I’ll be poured out like wine…
Broken like bread…
So one with Him that we will do whatever He asks…”
It’s a big thing, this commitment to do whatever He asks.
And it is a blind thing, for we cannot see what tomorrow holds.

None of us knew that in two days, Peter’s body would begin that process of being broken.
That in a week’s time he would be buried, dust returning to dust.
And not one of us dreamed that in less than 72 hours, Peter, in a new eternal body, would be standing in the presence of God, caught up in the heavenly song of praise.
Just knowing that would have knocked our breath away.

But God knew. He saw how fragile we are, and knew we could not bare to see what the next week held.
But He invited us into this, His suffering. His brokenness. His agony.
And we look and gasp.
We crumble.
The reality of death and separation shakes us to the core.

We forget. We get lost in the night. In the saltines of tears. And the empty bedroom, the untouched clothes.
We forget that we too, are just one breath away from heaven, and Peter just beat us too it…
We forget that joy comes in the morning, that God sees a bigger picture than we right now.

It’s a small thing, this taking a little piece of bread and breaking it.
But it’s a bitter thing to actually do it. To follow Jesus in His sufferings.
To say “yes” when our whole being screams “no.”

I remember another time Jesus fed people. He looked around at a ragged and tired crowd.
Mothers held fussy babies and men carried weary children. They needed food, but that is not what they were following Him for. He offered them something they had never experienced before.
They wanted His words of life.

Jesus looked at the crowd, and asked, “Where can we buy enough bread to feed them?”
It was a preposterous question, and He knew it. It was impossible.
Not only was there no store nearby, but passover was just around the corner, and everyone was purging their homes of leavened bread. And that is just what Jesus was looking for; bread.
He wants something we can’t provide.

Five small loaves were nothing in light of this crowd.
Nothing. Just crumbs.
But this is where our Jesus delights to be, in a place of impossibility.
He takes our brokenness, our neediness, our shattering, and makes it a platform of glory.
The impossible becomes the miracle. Our brokenness becomes an opportunity for Him to shine through.
For where we can’t, He can.

Jesus took those insufficient loaves, that meager offering, and thanked God.
He took them, blessed them, and broke them.
Again, we find ourselves catching crumbs, broken pieces, and fragments.
But the strange thing is that after Jesus broke them and they were distributed, the people were filled.
There was plenty, left over even.

And here, in our place of brokenness, we taste just the beginning of His fullness.
In tasting His shattering, we partake in His wholeness. This is what Peter saw, when he said, “Rejoice when you taste these sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is made plain…”

It is bitter, this communion, but it is also sweet.
For passover is coming. Death is just a moment, an evening before the dawn.
Today our tears sting, salty.
They burn down our cheeks and carve canyons in our hearts.
But soon those caverns will overflow with joy, and this shall be a place of breathtaking beauty.

Welcome to this place of loss, for here, in Him, you shall be found.

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4 thoughts on “Broken Pieces

  1. “The reality of death and separation shakes us to the core. We forget. We get lost in the night…We forget that we too, are just one breath away from heaven, and Peter just beat us too it…”

    We too, just one breath away…it’s become so real to this heart…the glitter of earthly things gone, heaven’s reality and eternity come to the front. Recently got to know someone whose family is mostly in heaven and seeing that joy and expectation for heaven, to see Jesus…it’s stirred this heart to beat for eternal things alone.

    Thank you for sharing…bitter, this communion, but also sweet. Amen.

  2. Thank you for this Melissa…. And for being willing to stand ahead of us and shout back….” You will make it through… There is glory ahead!” Watching your grace and joy, your tenacious faith inspires me. This loss is not too great because Jesus says he is w us and gives us beauty in the face of ashes that we don’t understand.

  3. God bless you for this Melissa. I can see the glory coming…… I taste of it, and I have hope. It makes me want more and I long for brokenness to be completed in me. Completed now, on this earth so I can serve with nothing between this heart of mine and my God. Then I rejoice to think of Peter. Complete in a way that I can’t even understand. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

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