This last Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent, as the bread and the cup were being served in the pews, my eyes and my meditation were drawn to the loaf of bread still on the communion table, the one my hands had just broken in prayer. Broken. That’s the world we live in. It’s broken. There is crime and poverty. There are illnesses and accidents. Abuse, corruption, and divisiveness are realities. We live in a broken world.
The world that received the Messiah, Jesus, was just as broken. For centuries prophets had been calling a lost people back to faith in God. They were breaking their covenant with God by worshiping other deities by ignoring the poor, the widows, and the orphans. Oppressive empire after oppressive empire occupied Israel; the people were emotionally and spiritually beaten down, fractured, broken. Broken communities. Broken bodies. Broken spirits.
It was into this broken world that God decided to make an appearance. It was amidst all this imperfection that God decided to break the barrier between heaven and earth. It was into this mess that God decided to be born, to take on breakable human flesh. Advent is all about God’s response to brokenness and the bread we break is the perfect reminder of exactly what God’s response is. God doesn’t get farther away when the world gets messy and people are broken. God doesn’t pull the divine up into heaven and push the human down to earth. Instead God mixes the two together and gets right down in the middle of it all, choosing to be broken, so that we don’t even have to be alone.
This is my body, the Word made flesh
Broken for you, broken like you
Do this in the remembrance of me, I am with you always
If I had my wishes, we would break bread together in worship every Sunday of Advent. For when we do we physically remember with each broken piece of bread, that Jesus is coming to walk with us in this broken world. Somehow just practicing that makes his presence and his promise of wholeness just a little bit more real to me. It brings me good tidings of comfort and joy.
May Christ’s peace and joy be with you this Advent and Christmas.