Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given

Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given
Matthew 26:17-18; 26-28

Communion

This morning we come, once again to the table, the table of our lives as Christians,
the table of remembrance,
of celebration,
of love and of service.

This morning we come to this table, where, as the words we will say later remind us “we can most fully be ourselves and see others for who they truly are:  sons and daughters of the living God.”

This table is about one of the most intimate acts, eating with God and with
one another.
It gives us the pattern and meaning of our lives.

In the reading from Matthew and as I serve at table this morning
four words stand out.

They mark the way we move through the meal and through our lives.
The words are TAKE, BLESS, BROKE, GAVE.

TAKE can sometimes have negative images associated with it.
We see someone taking something away from someone.
But TAKE in the way our gathering around this table understands it, is to
to commit to,
to embrace
as Jesus takes the bread and the cup.
Jesus takes the bread in his two hands,
just as he took up his own life, with awareness, and with integrity.
Sometimes he takes it up with fear, the fear we hear him speak in Gethsemane.
Sometimes he takes it up with loneliness, as we hear him speak on the cross
“Why have you left me?”
We know those feelings.
But still he takes it.

Do we take our lives, each of us, as the gift it is from God, the breathing and the moving, the thinking and the singing and the loving of it?
Do we take it consciously and reverently as Jesus takes the loaf, as he took his own life in his hands and lived it, fully.

Do we BLESS it, this life we hold?
Here at the table with his disciples, the twelve that ate with him around table many years ago and the disciples that have eaten with him for over 2000 years and the disciples that eat with him today Jesus blessed and blesses the bread.
He lifts the bread of life and speaks of God’s goodness in it and through it.
He gives thanks.

And just as Jesus blesses the bread of life we are called to lift our lives and give thanks to see God’s goodness within them.

Even though they will be at some time or some times BROKEN,
perhaps because they are broken.
Leonard Cohen in one of his songs says “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack, a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”

Jesus lifts the loaf of life and he breaks it.
The life that we’ve taken up,
that we’ve called down blessing on, is like the bread at this table, BROKEN.

Sometimes life itself breaks apart without warning or preparation from us.
Perhaps a loved one dies, a friend betrays us,
an idea we’ve held forever is proven false,
a work we’ve given our life to is ended through unemployment or illness,
someone we love turns away.
All these things break that life we have taken and blessed
and, like Jesus, we know fear and loneliness.

Sometimes we chose to break our lives open, so that they may be re-made, transformed, shared.

We realize something about them is ready to change and we break them open so that the light may get in.  Sometimes the breaking will hurt fiercely and sometimes it will be as though a band round our chest was snapped and we can take a deep breath for the first time.

Once we have mourned or taken a few deep breaths, adjusted somewhat to the brokenness in all our lives we remember that Jesus GAVE the broken bread to those he was with.

When the light shines through the cracks in our lives,
when it shines through the broken loaf of this table
or of the disrupted shape of the life we lived before it was torn apart
it is not meant to be hidden,
covered up,
treated with the pretense that everything is as it was before,
that there has been no brokenness, no crack for the light to shine through.

When the light shines through it is meant to be GIVEN.

Christianity is “an invitation for us together, a way to see both God and the world anew from the perspective of that table, of that shared food . . . “ (Lathrop, 59).

We can look at all of our lives from that pattern.
We can look at our own life to this point,
have we really taken it,
have we called blessing on it,
have we recognized the times when it has been broken
and have we allowed those places of brokenness to make us strong not tough?

Have we covered them up or let the light shine through, given, in some way, to others.

We can look at the economic crisis through this lens,
we can look at war or poverty or the environment.
We can look at  our ministry together yours and mine.
We can look at our congregations and our pastoral charge.

Have we taken the life we have been given,
do we call for blessing on it,
do we recognize and feel the pain of its brokenness
and do we allow the light to shine through it’s brokenness,
a sign of hope to all the broken world
or do we try to put it back together as it was cracks sealed up so no light shines through.

If we move through these words we will be whole.
Taken, blessed, broken , given.
Even though we may feel lost for a while, we will be whole.

In these words we find the truth spoken about what we know happens in our lives
and what we are called to help one another do with that truth.
Jesus lived it for us so that he could show us the way,
taken, blessed broken, given.

At this table we are fed,
at this table we are re-united,
at this table we are healed and given new sight  Thanks be to God.

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