Pieces of His Body, Pieces of My Soul

Communion is one of those foundational elements of our faith.  It is a deep, deep sea.  I love meditating on the Body and Blood of Jesus.

The trays of torn pieces of bread and little cups of wine passed ordinarily in front of me. I took a piece of bread and a cup. The bread was jagged. The wine was red.

Communion is the body and blood of Jesus. It is the meal we partake to to remember the violent sacrifice of Jesus that cleanses our souls of sin and gives us hope.

The body, broken. The blood poured out.

The body was broken when Pilate had Jesus scourged. It was broken when nails were driven into His hands and feet. It was broken when a soldier thrust a spear into Jesus’ side. And from the broken body poured blood and water.

The violent sacrifice of Jesus.

When we remember Jesus’ sacrifice, we tear pieces of bread and pour wine.

I wonder if it still hurts. I wonder if we still tear bits of Jesus’ body with our sin. I wonder if our betrayal still tears jagged pieces of Jesus’ flesh from His bones. I wonder if it hurts.

I have raised my children with the gentle instruction in the ways of Jesus. I have taught them love and truth and kindness and obedience and and and. If you are a parent, you know where this is going. All along the way growing up, my children knew what was right, but chose to do what was not.

Every time they did, they tore pieces of my soul.

They didn’t think of me, they thought of themselves. They thought, “I want this and though I know it is not what my parents have taught me, I will have it anyway.” A piece of my heart. A piece of my soul torn from me.

It hurts like crazy every single time. The last time is as painful as the first.

And though it is painful, I still allow my children to reach up and pull another piece of my soul from my bones.

Why?

I think it is the wine talking.

I think it might be that broken body is followed by flowing blood.

I think it might be the blood that washes away my sin. These hands that tore apart the body of Jesus are washed with life very life of the one who is torn and broken. Jesus’ death is the violent demonstration of the overwhelming love of God–love profoundly manifest in the forgiveness delivered by and represented by the blood of Jesus.

God forgives over and over and over. Every piece of torn flesh is washed by poured blood. Every violent, ungrateful, egocentric sin is met by the same unrelenting grace of the One whose body is broken. The forgiveness even comes in the midst of violence and by means of the same violence. The cleansing blood comes from the broken body.

In 20 short years as a parent, my soul has been torn over and over, but every single time, those wounds provide an avenue by which love flows. Through the deep pain comes complete forgiveness.

It is the kind of crazy love only a parent understands. Love that forgives and continues through pain. However great the pain, the love endures and overcomes.

Torn pieces of bread. Poured glasses of wine. Violent, beautiful images of the ugliness of sin and the costly nature of the grace which gives me life.

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