Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23rd

Of Broken Bread

In the church of the doubting saint, we all stand.
Behind the stained glass,
lies the garden in the rain, waiting.
Lift up your hearts, he said.
We lift them to the Lord.

The flat bread was lifted up and cracked apart with a snap, his wide sleeves falling down, the polished wooden cross a centerpiece behind him.

Again and again, the priest had declared, you called us into a covenant with you.

Again and again we broke it, crushed your heart in the desert, until in the fullness of time, you sent yourself openly among us, the bared and holy arm of Yahweh a young itinerant rabbi having no beauty that we should desire him, grown up like a weed out of dry ground.

Tear down this temple, you had cried, breath still heaving in you, and I will raise it again in three days.

That wound driven deep in your side by the tip of the spear, wide enough to reach a hand within your body torn open, pierced right up under the ribs to the heart. Bled out, the violence broken through.

In the shadowed synagogue, prayer shawl hiding your head, you sit studying before the scroll. How those words must have opened up in your spirit, stark and terrifying, your life written out.

You whisper, leaning forward, lost in the lines, the lilting, unyielding poetry of the murdered prophets. You are young and unmarked still on an ordinary Sabbath day.

Behold, I come.
In the scroll of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do your will,
oh my God, my God!

The Son of Man indeed goes just as it was written of Him. You are the manifest image looking into the mirror of your own words breathed down though the ages. You are beyond understanding, a secret no longer hidden, a sudden in-breaking, an apocalypse.

My Lord and my God.

I take you from the hand of the priest. I don’t mind the mystery. You break easily in my mouth, washed down by the wine. You are sweet and altogether lovely like sapphire and ivory. You blood burns like fire in me all the way back to the pew, where I want to hide my blushing face behind the hymnal.

In your infinite love, you made us for yourself. Held still and hardly breathing, your hand passes over my face, the hollows of my eyes, my pulse flickering right under your fingers; the same hand that knit me first together. I remember how I am your flesh and blood formed, a part your living temple, your sister, your spouse.

Words can’t hold that meaning, it runs out like water from a broken vessel in braided strings of light, like water from the cleft of the rock, turning the wilderness to flowers, a fountain of gardens. That meaning must be eaten, it must be drunk like new wine in the kingdom of God.

We stand to watch the procession
pass by the baptismal on the way to the open door.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, he said, lifting up his hands.
Thanks be to God, we say.

Alleluia, alleluia.