Tag Archives: broken

For those too broken to eat the bread and drink from the cup.

This Wednesday we begin the season of Lent. Some of us long for Ash Wednesday all year, this is for those who don’t.

Even though the discipline of imitating Christ’s 40-day fast is an old one, each year it is new, as well. Because each year we are called out into the wilderness as a year-different person than we were the previous year: a year wiser or a year weaker, a year more mature or a year more undone.

As a new person who is the “I am” we are right now,
we are called out to meet the “I am” who is God.

We go in search of our true selves as we meet the one who makes us new and whole in a whole new way.


Every year we gather around the communion table to share the Lord’s death so we can share in his resurrection. It is just as mysterious as Paul describes it to the Philippians in the letter to them:

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).

When Jesus, the great “I am,” welcomes us to the table, some of us will not want to go. This post is for you.  

The whole meal is about being broken by sin — being confronted with what we carry and being offered forgiveness, cleansing and freedom.

At the table we receive the body of Jesus taking on our sin and death. Some of us will not want to receive it.

The last thing some of us want to do is bring Jesus into our mess. We don’t want to sully Jesus with the defilement that poisons and taunts and drains the life out of us! As a result, some of us rarely join Him at the table — maybe never have. Maybe when the body and blood were passed to us and we were too embarrassed to refuse it, we took it feeling like imposters.

You will not defile the body of Christ with your defilement – the sins you have committed and those committed against you, your torments or your trials.

Where his wounds touch your wounds
you will be made clean again.

No one will push you to do it, but it will help to take your memories and face them at the table, to let your pain be touched, not protected, to die and rise again and again until you get there.

Lent might be a good time for the traumatized and despondent to confess the sin of mistrust and tell the stories of their past sin and present entrapments. Visit the therapist, tell the trusted friend, write it in the prayer journal, or tell the cell. Take it with you to the table.

As your miserable, sordid stories bleed out of you,
be wrapped in an immensity of cleansing, sheltering, ministering, healing love.

Look toward your resurrection as you eat and drink communion with Jesus at the table and wherever His people share his love.

God, in Jesus, is showing great love. I hope you already knew that. That love is vividly presented to be known and touched when we share the body and blood of Christ in the communion meal. It is not magic or a miracle we can dial up, but when we take into our bodies from the plate and the cup, we invite the presence of the Light and Life of all people right in to our very guts. No evil can co-exist with the presence of the living Christ.

If you eat the bread and drink from the cup, discerning the person of Christ, it will be life to you.

When you receive the elements of “I am”
let the whisper of your heart be “I am” as well.

The life in Christ is catching. It makes us. When it touches us, it spreads within us. It will purge all rottenness and decay. It will touch the sore places of our spirits. It will turn us toward life. Is this what you want? Is this what you ask of Jesus?

Then say it with Psalm 51: “Make me hear joy and gladness so that even my broken places join the song. Keep me in your presence when the sin in me and on me drags me away. Restore in me the joy of being saved. May your freedom to love be met by my freedom to be loved.”

Can you say it? “This is my sacrifice to you of a troubled spirit, Lord. I trust that you will not despise my hopeful but helpless heart.”

Jesus will lift away the sludge that has gradually covered over the lamp of Christ in our souls.

The “I am” who was given life by Jesus
will be restored by the great “I am.”

Pray it: “Dear Jesus, my brother, my leader, my friend, I have nothing to give you but my troubled spirit. I love you as I can. I have no where better to go than to you. I put my trust in you. Receive the offering of this broken heart. Unbreak me.”

Pray for the sifted: The betrayals of love

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you [all] as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

Simon (Peter), one of the core disciples of Jesus, did get “sifted” like chaff getting separated from wheat. He got torn apart. You might even say he got broken up. His courage failed him; his anxiety controlled him; his weak heart couldn’t take it. He betrayed Jesus and he betrayed his true self. But, ultimately, his faith did not fail. God held on to him. Just as Jesus prayed, Peter did go on to strengthen the other followers who had been sifted and were about to be sifted.

Broken up

I am particularly interested, today, in the idea that Peter got broken up. We use that term when we get separated from our intimates. I am surrounded by people experiencing being broken up. They are getting sifted. They are in a spiritual battle. I pray for their faith not to fail. I pray that one day they will be through it and will strengthen us.

So many of us are experiencing this brokenness ourselves or experiencing it in someone else that it bears admitting in writing. Intimacy breaks us and builds us. Our connections come with suffering and cause suffering. Today, I’m thinking of being broken up in two ways: 1) someone is getting sifted because they were let go; 2) someone else is being sifted because they can’t let go, even though the person is gone. For others, it is both. I don’t have great definitions or solutions to share, but I am feeling the brokenness, too.

For every Christian who got attached, who gave themselves physically, who made the commitment (some by getting married) and then broke up, it is a spiritual battle. Some of you did not have a tough time moving on; you might be good at hardening your heart, now, as a result. I am not really talking to you. I am feeling for the people who are still being sifted and they feel the brokenness. You are in a spiritual battle. Don’t lose your faith. Don’t let your suffering turn you. Turn back.

Let go

Some people are struggling to let themselves be let go. Pray for them. I won’t tell a story, but it is a common one: “I did not intend to get connected to this person, much less have sex, but I did. Now they are with someone else.” Or “It never crossed my mind that they would go out on me. I feel so stupid and embarrassed.” Or “I don’t know why I still want them after what they did to me, but I do.” They are getting sifted. I pray that one of the results is that they accept their true value before God and escape the power of the betrayal.

Some people are struggling to let go. Pray for them. Again, I won’t tell a story, you can tell your own. But they are common: “I repent of the immorality, but I long for the intimacy.” Or “I want two people for different reasons.” Or “I can’t believe that what I am or what we had could have been this damaging.” Or “Maybe there is a way to work this out if we just get away from the family and all these people.” They are getting sifted. I pray that one of the results is that they turn away from hunger and find true sustenance.

Being sifted could be good

Whenever I am talking to people sifted by the betrayals of love I often make surprisingly little headway in convincing them it is a spiritual place to be. For Christians, in particular, they often think they need to keep their pain or their desires secret from people who won’t understand, and they often act like it is all a secret from God. Even though they see Jesus discerning the secrets in the heart of his intimate friend, Peter, they fall under the spell of their feelings and can’t get loose. They seem to think that if they admitted the situation was about more than their attachment, they would lose the attachment, and they either think that is impossible or undesirable. Pray for them. Being betrayed or betraying is about more than the two people involved. And “in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

Broken up people often don’t imagine that what they really need to do is strengthen their brothers and sisters. They are so wrapped up in being sifted, it can become an identity. They are so wrapped up in how they have sex or not that they forget about everything else. Satan would love that.

They often think their loves and lusts are happening in private, but their actions usually end up as tools for sifting us all. Pray that in being let go and letting go they let us all go.

Pray their faith does not fail — because that failure is a distinct possibility for them. You who are enduring this or who have honestly endured it know what I am talking about. But having been sifted, it is also a distinct possibility that they, and all of us, will develop true strength to share.