Sunday, March 4, 2018

A Broken Chalice - That's Where the Light Comes In

Pastor David arrived carrying a small loaf of bread  in one hand and a chalice in another. He was taking time on this cold winter night to serve communion to our small group.

I reached for the chalice noting that the base had a huge chip, a broken edge. Holding the cup containing the grape juice, my fingers rubbed the sharp corner and wound around the curved bottom.

David offered a few opening remarks. As he passed the bread, he said, "The body of Christ broken for you."

My heart stopped on those word as my hands rubbed along the sharp, rough chalice bottom.

Broken Chalice, Broken Hearts

There was surely a lot of brokenness in the room that night:

          -  a young widow
          - an elderly woman whose husband lives in a memory care unit
          - a lesbian student struggling with a relationship with her partner
          - a middle-aged single woman grieving the lack of opportunity to find a spouse through the years
          - a gay man in a confusing relationship

The broken chalice reflected the hearts of everyone in the room.

Over the past six weeks, we developed a deep bond of trust and shared openly about the struggles of our hearts and the brokenness of the past and present.  We offered encouragement and hope to each other.

Oneness in Brokenness

When I noticed the chipped chalice and heard the words, "The body of Christ broken for you," I realized in those moments that Jesus' broken body became one with the brokenness each person carried. Sharing communion strengthened the connection we had with each other and brought God deeper into our lives.

I was reminded of the word of Leonard Cohen's song, "Anthem:"

          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.

Similar thoughts from the poet, Rumi:

          The wound is the place where the light enters you. 

Leonard Cohen and Rumi offer messages of hope in darkness.

Light Shines in the Darkness

Our brokenness can be hard, challenging, life-altering, but in those cracks, light flows through, to offer strength and hope, bringing ways to cope. We are also reminded that Jesus, too, was broken. The light of Resurrection came into Jesus' crucified body, just like light comes to us.

Everyone in my group welcomed the light of communion into their brokenness, carrying the assurance that they are not alone as the go through their days. Light shines in the darkness as they live the words from John 1:5 - "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it."

Questions for Reflection

1. Think about a time when you were broken. How did you see and receive light to help you get through these circumstances?
2. What ways can you help others who are going through difficult times?

Prayer: We do get overwhelmed, God, when we are broken. We don't move as quickly nor do we respond as clearly to daily events and encounters. Come into those cracks and hard places of our heart, bring your light to ground our struggles and give us ways to see through our days until wholeness comes. Amen.

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