A couple weeks ago Loyola Press offered a 3-Minute Retreat on the following verse of scripture:
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?
(1 Corinthians 10:16, NRSV)
This got me reflecting on brokeness and being poured out. Here’s the Loyola Press’ reflection:
“Participation in the Eucharist is not passive, it is active. The cup we bless and the bread we break are actions that enable us to be a part of the Body of Christ. As the Body of Christ, we are Christ’s presence in the world, and as such we continue his mission of service and love. In this we too are poured out and broken open, just as Jesus’ blood was poured out and his body broken during crucifixion, in service to others and to the world.”
Aha! That’s the point of it all—we are Christ’s presence in the world continuing his mission. But what was the significance of Jesus being “broken and poured out” on the cross? He literally allowed himself to be publicly broken and to bleed out of love for all. Such an act shows tremendous vulnerability. The word vulnerable is from the Latin vulnerare, meaning “to wound”. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable involves some wounding, some breaking, some bleeding. When we become more at ease in a relationship we become more vulnerable to the other. We open our hearts and risk it being broken. Jesus opened his heart because he, as God, was (and is) in deep relationship with us. It’s no mistake that we say we “pour” our hearts out to someone we’re close with.
What if everyone allowed themselves to be broken and poured out? I imagine many broken eggs, broken with yokes oozing out. Messiness. Imagine every person you encounter to have everything exposed. You would know it all: their weaknesses, their compulsions, their secrets, their loves, their wounds, their joys, their fears. And they, too, could see you in all your depth. It would be… messy. But maybe if everyone let themselves be so exposed we might be more loving, compassionate, and understanding of one another. We’d quickly learn that others shared in our fears or addictions, our joys and our sorrows. Can we do it out of love?
Jesus, in his public display of loving brokenness, I think asks us to follow that example. If we are Christ’s presence in the world, can we let ourselves love so deeply that we can be vulnerable and risk brokenness, risk pouring out our hearts onto others? This is not about pouring our problems onto others. It’s about breaking through our rigid shells, letting people see a bit of the beautiful humanness that lies within, that little bit of love and soul God has placed within us to share.