Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Broken and beautiful

My prayer, which began in earnest on Palm Sunday, was that I might be led to the cross during Passion Week; that I might see Jesus in a different way this Easter; that I might experience the depth of his suffering; that I might get a glimpse into all that he endured just for me; that I might look anew at the ways in which I live and breathe and follow him.

It was an incredible week, to say the least.

Reading and re-reading the scriptures uncovered some things for me that I had perhaps never really read before, that I must have missed or at least forgotten about Holy Week.

It also drew me in closer to Jesus than I have been in some time. In the midst of personal struggle and a bit of a dry season, I needed to be drawn in.

Thursday evening we went on a journey during our Maundy Thursday service. We journeyed to the table - celebrating in the Lord's supper. We then journeyed to the Garden of Gethsemane and I really heard and understand for the first time that victory was won in Garden, when Jesus decided to take on the cross. And then we journeyed to the cross, where he suffered and died for me and for you.

Thursday night was a meaningful service for me, one in which I could hear Jesus ask from the cross, "What sin?"

Good Friday came and I spent much of the day, for lack of a better word, bothered. Bothered that victory had to come with Jesus hanging there - because of me - for me! I thank God that he did it, but the pain of it all is almost too much. It was my sin that nailed him there, it was me who turned his back on Jesus - who cut and ran. Oh, to not do those things!

But Good Friday also included Bible study. Six broken people who love Jesus, who love each other and are living life together. On this night, we continued to toil through the book of Job (we are officially halfway - yippee!), shared what was going on in our lives and then, dimmed the lights, lit some candles and again ventured to the cross. We took in this Youtube video - I would like to share it with you here...

This Good Friday - the day in which Jesus's body was broken and blood was poured out for the healing of the world, the healing of those who would call on his name - we broke bread together, served each other and enjoyed the feast.

Holy Communion - the Lord's Supper - is a very personal experience. He endured the most excruciating of deaths in which his body was literally broken and his blood poured out. He did it for me and he did it for you, if you believe.

It is the most meaningful of experiences for me to take his body, soak it in the cup and remember what he did for me. It is written: On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took the bread, broke it and said 'This is my body which is broken for you. Every time you eat of it, remember me.' And in the same way, Jesus took the cup, and after having blessed it, said 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood which was poured out for many.' Every time you drink of it, remember me.

An amazing thing, isn't it?

Jesus gave us these elements that we might never forget. He also gave us this supper, I believe, with the intent of celebrating it with others. Merriam-Webster defines community as a unified body of individuals. Communion, loosely defined, is the celebration of being in community with one another.

And so, on this night, six broken people whose lives are being put back together through the body and blood of Jesus Christ - and through the love and care of each other - intimately shared the body and body of Jesus Christ. Tears were shed, hearts were opened, and sharing occurred about the very personal meaning of the sacrament. I believe we were all touched by the body and blood, and the sharing, in ways we have not encountered before.

This is a meager attempt at explaining the celebration - but Good Friday will never look the same to me again. I saw him there, broken and beautiful.

Then came Sunday morning - where the church building was bursting at the seams and a cantata called "I've Seen Jesus" was performed. Beautifully sung music and incredible narration took us to what Mary Magdalene, Thomas and Peter all experienced upon coming to the empty grave.

They saw Jesus, ALIVE! He was both broken and beautiful before their eyes.

In this past week, Jesus was both broken and beautiful before my eyes. How about you? My prayer now is that I read and re-read the accounts of his time on earth following the resurrection, that it might become more and more real - that it might lead me ever closer to him - that it might help me better share his love with others - that I might be better prepared for his return!

Grace and Peace!


janelle said...

...my ipod is playing...
"give me Jesus
give me Jesus
you can have all this world
give me Jesus"

"Broken and Beautiful-Jesus Paid it All" is engraved on the back of my ipod...

Yes, it was a beautiful weekend; Jesus was alive, and crucified, and ALIVE - I felt it all.

In Love.

Billy Coffey said...

Easter is so full of emotion. Guilt and grace, suffering and joy. It wears you out, and that's a good thing.

So is a dry season. Because it makes you thirsty again.

Tea With Tiffany said...

Broken and beautiful. Love that. I've found such healing and love at the foot of the cross. There is nothing greater. Nothing that breaks my heart more and nothing that brings me more joy!