The Lord’s meal is about a body and its blood. The body and blood that the Lord’s meal is about is a body that is broken and a blood that is poured out. Those are the descriptions that matter in the Lord’s meal: broken and poured out. The body of Jesus comes to us broken, torn apart, riven. The blood of Jesus comes to us shed, depleted, poured out. Broken and poured out. This is the nature of the salvation, the life, the freedom that is given to us in Jesus. Jesus comes to us with brokenness and with outpouring. And this is appropriate, indeed it can be no other way for that is the condition into which this world has been plunged. In slavery to powers and rulers, this whole world and every life in it lives a broken, poured out life. Christ comes to us broken, torn apart, because we are broken and torn apart. This life, lived in this world, this world of sin, slavery, and death, is a life of being broken, of finding oneself poured out. Life tears us up. We may pretend at wholeness, we may put on a show of solidness, a veneer of stability, but these are the lies we tell to hide the wounds, the holes that this broken life has torn in us.
Jesus comes to us torn apart. He comes to the torn apart, not as one whole, but as the one most torn apart, the one who freely surrenders his wholeness, who never pretends at a false healthiness. Jesus comes to us broken and poured out, and because of this none of us can ever be alone again in our brokenness. The holes that life has torn open in our flesh, in our hearts, these need no longer be papered over, they need no longer be concealed under a mask of false wholeness. Instead, in the riven body of Jesus, our torn up bodies are liberated into freedom, the freedom to remain torn apart, not unto despair, but rather unto love.
For in Jesus the wounds, the holes that life tears into us are transformed, not closed. The wounds of Jesus remain open after the resurrection. They persist, no longer as a source of pain, no longer as the signs of death, but rather as the beginning of freedom, life, and love.
Christian Wiman writes, “They need not be only grief, only pain, these black holes in our lives. If we can learn to live not merely with them but by means of them, if we can let them be part of the works of sacred art that we in fact are, then these apparent weaknesses can be the very things that strengthen us. Life tears us apart, but through those wounds, if we have tended them, love may enter us. It may be the love of someone you have lost. It may be the love of your own spirit for the self that at times you think you hate. However it comes though, in all these, of all these and yet more than they, so much more, there burns the abiding love of God. “
When we come, then to the Lord’s table, to the Lord’s meal, the meal of a broken body and a poured out blood, let us leave behind the false pretences of wholeness, security, and identity. We are invited, by the riven body of Christ, by the Lord who chooses to be torn apart, to offer our wounds, our own torn apart bodies and lives to him and to each other that, right there, right in the midst of our rivenness, we may become open channels in which love may flow. Come to this table, not to be made whole, not to receive a solid identity, not to receive security and certainty. Come instead that your wounds may be left open, like our Lord’s. Left open to witness to the depth of love and freedom that has been given to us. The freedom to be torn apart in love, the freedom to remain broken, to abide in the rivenness. This is freedom indeed. Freedom from illusion, from pretence, from the arrogance that refuses vulnerability by choosing to construct a false self, to build an identity, to pretend at wholeness. Come to this table to remain broken, to have your wounds left open. Come to this table torn apart, and receive the torn apart body and the poured out blood, and in receiving it, offer your open wounds, your own torn apartness, your riven and incomplete lives, and watch them be transformed into open channels, into free and boundless spaces in which the love of God will burn. For the God who comes to us torn apart loves every broken thing.