Broken & Shared

“I’ve marveled at how Christ breaks us like bread and spreads the pieces of us to even more people…Even when I cannot see him, I hear the beautiful gallop of God’s heartbeat for humanity.” – Christine Caine

A crowd was gathered to listen to the words of this man, Jesus. They sat on the grass in groups, growing hungrier and wearier as the day turned to twilight.

This guy, the one they came to listen to – He takes a crusty loaf and breaks it once/twice/three times. And he keeps tearing off piece after piece, methodically, without haste or worry. And the loaf never runs out. He keeps tearing, keeps sharing. Thousands of times.

The Message version of the Bible says that Jesus, our Jesus, “lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave.”

He knelt to pray. He blessed. He broke. He gave.

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Each time I have read the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, I always picture myself as one of the people out in the crowd, eating my crusty bread and marveling at the miracle.

Then, this morning on the train to work, I read those words by Christine Caine: “Christ breaks us like bread and spreads the pieces of us to even more people.”

What if we’re not always the members of the hungry crowd – what if we are the bread? The agents that God miraculously uses and multiplies and shares to reach more of our broken world?

Let this sink for a minute.

If Christine’s wise words are true, then it follows that a couple of things are true about us. Remember Jesus’ actions in The Message: He prayed. He blessed. He broke. He gave.

First, Jesus prays for us.

When we are confused, muted by hurt, or unsure of where to step, Christ is the promised companion that intercedes for us and prays on our behalf. The Holy Spirit sends alerts to God in a wordless way, ensuring that even if we are speechless, God always knows what’s happening with our hearts. It’s that gift of constant connection that Jesus made possible with his work on the cross. We are prayed for.

Second, our Heavenly Father blesses us. Equips us.

The Lord has given you a unique set of gifts that mean you’re trained and ready to do battle in this world. You’re ready to encourage in a culture of shaming and competition and pressure. You’re ready to run your business with integrity, even if your neighbor cheats and makes more money. You’re ready to take what you’ve learned from the love of your family and community and welcome an unloved person into grace. Just as Jesus blessed the bread that day, we are blessed with all the tools we’ll need going forward. 

Imagine the blessing of communion, that ancient tradition passed from the table of the Last Supper all the way to the tables in our churches today. Imagine the Lord blessing and tearing off bread for all eternity, tearing and sharing, never running out. He empowered and blessed the disciples with the breaking of that first communion loaf, and his blessing continues even to the bread we break in remembrance today. His favor and blessing extends even to you, friend.

Third, if we’re the bread, as Christine says, we’re broken. God knows that we will experience disappointment. Heartbreak. Grief. But he uses even that part of our stories for the good of His Kingdom coming. This isn’t just a cliche.

You know that feeling when you’re broken-down? Your heart hurts, your eyes sag, your spirit wilts, you are exhausted and hollowed-out? I’ve heard (and witnessed with my own story) that the best way to heal from the hurt is to help another person that’s hurting. So what if that carries into this metaphor? What if, in times of grief, you’re not being broken down, but you’re being multiplied, opened up to the Father in humility and growth? What if the pieces of your past are not just cast away, but spread around in hope to help others who are hurting?

Tearing, sharing. Our pieces entering hungry hands and hearts.

Finally, Jesus gave that bread.

The truth is, friends, this life isn’t about us. It’s better – it’s bigger! We were brought to this earth to be given away. You’ve been prayed for, blessed and broken, all for the purpose of serving Our God and serving the sweet people in your life.

He’s sending your smile to your hurting neighbor, your compassionate voice to the child whose home life is rocky. He’s sharing your brilliant personality with your family, your church, your best friends. It’s that miraculous process in which humans get to reveal pieces of God himself to other humans. Tearing, sharing – passing, partaking. Like a delicious meal, like broken bread and poured wine.

He’s sending us out into our streets and sidewalks so that pieces of himself and pieces of ourselves can feed stomachs and souls. So hungry hands and hearts will find the comfort that nothing of this world will satisfy.

Being “shared” is what we were made for.

As Emily Freeman says, there are a few things we know for sure about us as humans: “We want more connecting, less competing. We want more laughter, less shame. We want more love, less fear.”

What do all these things have in common? These things we want more of? They are shared.

What if, in our pain, we chose to be shared, passed around to the hungry and the hurting with our stories of hope? What if we lived as the anointed bread, broken by the gentle hands of Jesus, and passed around, like a well-loved story, to all who are in need of comfort? What if you are helping others discover His beautiful treasure of grace and glory? What if this is the meaning of a full life?

He knelt to pray. He blessed. He broke. He gave.

Friend, I believe it’s true. It’s what you and me were made for.

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