After taking bread and blessing it, Jesus breaks the bread. This is an act we see every time we share in Holy Communion: the bread, broken, for us.
Brokenness is difficult for us. Our world is a broken world and we often see ourselves as broken. Pain and suffering are everywhere around us. There are physical illnesses, mental illnesses, war, strife, danger… Brokenness is a reality in our world, but it is hiding from it and pushing it into a locked box, that intensifies our brokenness and adds new layers to it, bringing emotional suffering too.
Accepting our brokenness is hard, but we need to face it. Coming to terms with brokenness is one way of dealing with it. It won’t suddenly make that brokenness go away, but by facing it and starting to deal with it, some of the brokenness may be healed.
That doesn’t mean everything will magically be better, or as it was before: if you fix a broken vase it is never quite the same again – yet it can still be useful and beautiful. This can also be true of our brokenness: we are never the same again, but we can be something new and beautiful. This was also true of Jesus on the cross – his resurrected body, though a sight to behold, still held the marks of brokenness, the wounds of the crucifixion.
One hymn that looks at brokenness is ‘Beauty for Brokenness’ by Graham Kendrick (Singing the Faith 693), which examines the brokenness in the world – in lives, in war, in creation – and looks for the opposite: hope, peace, beauty…
Broken and vulnerable God,
you know the brokenness of our world first hand;
you experienced brokenness on the cross;
you experienced a new wholeness,
changed with a resurrection body,
yet marked by past brokenness.
Help us to accept our brokenness and the brokenness of our world;
help us to face the brokenness, and to move towards a new wholeness –
new, but different, though also beautiful in its own way.
Bring us to newness and wholeness in you.