Monday, August 25, 2008

Broken and shed

So I've been thinking that perhaps I've written enough of the hysterionics of our household lately.  What with runaways, sick parents, even my own health, it's been too much.  So I thought--at least for today, who knows about tomorrow!!--I'd write my reflections on the passage of scripture I read this morning. This is typically how I do my morning study.  Read, pray, write what God puts on my heart in response.  My plethora of journals are filled with such things. So here you go:

Luke 22:13 and following about the 2 men encountering Jesus on the road to Emmaus.  They're overwhelmingly confused by the events they've just living through: the brutal death, the intervening three days, the missing body and vision of the angels by the women at the empty tomb.  They can't wrap their grieving hearts and brains around it all. The text says "they were kept from recognizing Him" when Jesus wanders up and begins walking with them, even when He chastises them as being foolish, and expounds the whole of scripture regarding Himself to them.  The veil was firmly in place--when they approach the town and He acts like he's walking farther than they were and they have to beg Him to accompany them. It was over their eyes when they sit down at table, God and man together (well, God-man and men together, come to think of it).  But then He took the bread, broke it and began to hand it to them. With that simple act of breaking the bread--as He had been broken--and giving it to them, the veil slipped off their eyes.  "Their eyes were opened," it says.  It wasn't when they ate the bread and wine, when, by some supernatural power, He entered them and they knew Him, it was when He broke it.  His actions opened their eyes, not theirs.  His breaking opens our eyes, His pouring does.  His breaking of His body, His pouring of His blood.  The work is already done when we take the bread and the wine--our simple, devoted response.

And...He actually didn't wait around to see them take the bread, it seems.  He disappeared the moment their eyes were opened.  In fact, the text doesn't even say they ever took a single bite. They were too busy speaking of the astonishing truth that they had been with the risen Jesus.  That took precedence over food and drink and probably even taking breaths at that moment. I can imagine that.  They probably left their dinner uneaten on the table.  The point wasn't the eating of the bread but His breaking it, their knowing Him.  And off they ran--the long miles back to Jerusalem and the disciples--to be further witness to His resurrection.

This isn't a case for how we should celebrate the Lord's supper.  I'm not trying to undermine the 'take and eat' and as often as you do this' words of Jesus. Leaving bread uneaten? Absolutely not!  But this moment in Emmaus adds depth to that supper in Jerusalem.  Maybe the disciples' hearts began to burn that night as well when Jesus took the bread and simply broke it, and said those unfathomable, still-to-be-lived-out words, "This is my body, broken for you." Took a pitcher of wine and poured it into a cup and said, so mysteriously, "This is my blood, shed for you." Those disciples really had no clue what Jesus meant. My heart burns a little when I hear those words but I know the whole story.  I've read it a million times.  When those men in Emmaus watched Jesus break that bread, they suddenly heard the whisper of His earlier words behind His actions, with the violence of the three days between and for the first time--the very first time--they knew.  Broken and shed.  His body broken for them. His blood shed for them. Every time you do this, think of me, He'd told them.  And they did.
And then He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."  Luke 22: 19 

No comments: