Monday, February 09, 2009

Broken on the Rock

In the sermon text Jesus says that “whoever falls on the stone will be broken; on whomever it falls it will grind him to powder.” In other words there are only two ways to deal with Jesus the chief corner stone. Either we fall on Him or He falls on us. The implication seems to be that if he falls on us, we’re done for, ground to powder, but if we fall on him, we are broken but not beyond repair, not beyond healing. Either way it’s going to hurt, but one of those ways is cause for thanksgiving. And that is one of the ways of looking at this meal. What we do here enacts and performs the very thing that God intends to do with us. God says you are the body of Christ, and then he takes this piece of bread and says, see this, this is the body of Christ. And then he breaks it, and hands it to us to eat and rejoice in. In other words, we’re not only giving thanks for the suffering and death of Jesus, we’re also sharing in them and feeding them to one another. We are the broken body of Christ, and we rejoice in this as we take that broken body of Jesus, give thanks for it, partake, and encourage one another to partake. Do we really get what we’re doing? We are giving thanks for the sufferings of Jesus and committing ourselves to share in them, to share in the life of God revealed in Jesus. And that life is one that is poured out, given away, laid down, pierced, and broken. And we’re saying to each other, ‘here, you try some.’ Take a bit of this brokenness, here, try some unjust suffering. Here’s our life together in Christ, poured out, laid out, pierce, broken. And then we thank each other for the gift of brokenness and suffering that we share in. This is a table of thanksgiving and joy, but it is thanksgiving and joy in the sufferings of Christ, joy in the cross. And that cross includes our own suffering. He bore our sin and shame and pain on the cross. We do not leave our hurts and fears and discouragement at the door. This is not an hour in which we pretend we have no pain. Rather, God requires us to bring it all right up here and set all on the table and then we give thanks and rejoice in it. What have you lost that you can never get back? Where have you failed and you can never put it right? Where does it hurt and it just won’t stop? Don’t hold it back, bring it out and put it on the table. And as you partake, say ‘thanks be to God.’ Give thanks because your sufferings have been taken up into the cross. Your brokenness is not meaningless; it’s only meaningless if you run from the Rock. But if you fall on the Rock, you will be broken. But you are being broken in order to be remade. You are being broken so that you can feed your neighbors; you are being broken so that your failures and hurts and disappointments might be re-shaped into the form of a cross.

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