Aloha Friday Message – August 16, 2013 – What if you ARE broken?

1333AFC081613 – What if you are broken?

Read it online here, please.

NRS Matthew 14:19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

NRS Matthew 15:36 he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

NRS Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

NRS Mark 14:22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”

NRS Luke 22:19 He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.”

NAS Luke 24:30-31 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

You probably recognize these passages: The feeding of the 5000, the feeding of the 4000, and The Lord’s Supper, the beginning of Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the Disciples at Emmaus. There is a common image in each of these I want us to see – the breaking of bread.

Bread is a common representation of the Church – many grains brought together to make flour, and from the flour – by baking – bread. The loaf of bread is broken and shared. It is the staff of life. It is the dietary staple of most of the world. Grain and the bread made from it are central elements throughout history, from Cain and Abel to your breakfast table, bread in some form is part of our day-to-day life. Now, while you and I might eat a solitary donut, or a muffin, we would rarely eat a loaf of bread, or a batch of cookies, or a pan of muffins; well not in one sitting I hope! Breads are usually made in quantity for the feeding of more than one person or for more than one meal. And here we find an interesting word: Batch.

A batch is the amount of material prepared or needed for, or produced in, one operation. It is, in baking, the amount of something baked at one time or produced at one baking. We have terms like large batch, small batch, and double-batch. It signifies how much product can be made of a set amount of ingredients. A batch of bread dough might make four loaves. A batch of cookie dough my make two dozen cookies. A batch of muffin batter might make a dozen muffins. The size and outcome of a batch is determined by the quantity and volume put into it. The five loaves in the feeding of the 5000 might have been from a batch for six loaves; one was kept at home, and the other five sent with the boy – just speculating here – so he would have something to eat and perhaps to barter with or to sell. Five loaves is a lot for a little boy to eat!

bread-of-life-print.236125641_stdWhen Jesus blessed and broke bread, he passed it on to others. The bread shared, as in these stories called the Multiplication of the Loaves, continued to be multiplied through the hands of those who shared the bread. This was foreshadowed when the Prophet Elisha when he ordered that 20 barley loaves be distributed to 100 men in 2 Kings 4:42-43. Jesus performed several miracles that echoed the Old Testament accounts, but the miracles were always larger and more generous. But always, the bread was broken before it was shared, and always, the grain was ground to flour before it was mixed, and always the dough was baked by fire before it was broken and shared. Breaking bread together has great religious, cultural, and political significance. Breaking bread together brings us together. Consider that the word companion comes from the Latin words com – with – and panis – bread. Bread brings the blessing of companionship with each other and with God. Bread is a gift, and so is the Companion, the Holy Spirit, who enlightens us on the cause and meaning of Salvation.

The Bread of Life was broken to be shared. As the Body of Christ, we too are shared by being broken. God takes away our stony hearts to give us hearts of tender love. Our pride is shattered, our boundaries broken down, our insular live are turned inside out when we commit to Love. Here is something from C. S. Lewis along that line: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

As the popular sixties song claimed, Only love can break a heart; only love can mend it again. Our hearts became stony because of sin. Jesus broke the grip of sin and death and gives us an gift that – like the feeding of the 5000 – is overwhelmingly generous – ETERNAL LIFE! Sonsider what Paul wrote to the Romans: But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person’s transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many. (Romans 5:15 NABRE)

Another gift in the grace of God is the Word, both as Christ the Word and also The Bible as “Our Daily Bread.” If we do not break open our daily bread, we starve physical, and if we do not break open Our Daily Bread – The Word – We starve spiritually. We feed our bodies constantly, sometime to excess; but we do not feed our spirit to excess (if that were possible) by feasting on The Word. We know that people are starved for food, and some good souls do what they can to feed them. We also know many souls are starved for the Companionship of God. There are some good souls who help them, too. But what if I am the one who is broken, starved, vulnerable, in pain, and desolate in spirit? Where do I go to be fed? To the House of God. To his people, his flock, his body. I keep the Lord always before me; with him at my right hand, I shall never be shaken. (Psalms 16:8 NABRE)

And how do we do this? How do we keep God always before us? We must be mindful of him in all things. When he is always in our sphere of awareness, it is much easier to see him at work. Think of the millennial-old metaphor of shepherd and sheep. How does the shepherd lead and protect the seep? He is with them! How to the sheep benefit from his leading and protection? The follow him!

Jesus told them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it does, it brings a good harvest. The man who loves his own life will destroy it, and the man who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. If a man wants to enter my service, he must follow my way; and where I am, my servant will also be. And my Father will honor every man who enters my service. (John 12:23-26)

Let’s look back to the question at the beginning of this post. Q: What if you are broken? A1: You are blessed because the bread is blessed before it is broken. A2: You are shared because the bread is blessed and broken for us all (© MP3Brainz BETA). A3: God’s generosity with you as a gift is super-abundant so there is always a remnant – a lingering blessing – that remains wherever you are shared. You are either seed for him who sows or bread for him who eats. (See Isaiah 55:10-11).

Perhaps your life is at another stage in the making and sharing of bread. Are you growing in the field, running through the mill, being mixed in a batch, or baked in an oven? At every point, the purpose of bread is fulfilled, and you are blessed for you have been made by God to live and to be life for others. Be where he is, serve him in others, take your place as a morsel of the Bread of Life come down from heaven.

Share-A-Prayer
KL – Serious sprained ankle. Pray for rapid and complete healing leading to a return to competition quickly.

CID – Rejoicing for many blessings.

KW – Additional joint-replacement surgery and therapy. Pray for relief from the pain and successful rehabilitation.

NAS – Critical surgery on venous system and nerves in lower legs. Pray for successful surgery, recovery, and uneventful recover for this courageous Christian dealing with a lifetime of severe and major health setbacks related to congenital health problems.

GW – Hospice as bone marrow is failing. Doctors are saying 3-6 months. Pray for healing either through remission or peace and painless passing. Pray for CeW as her caregiver for many years. This couple’s testimony of faith is inspirational!

 

chick

 

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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