Monday, April 11, 2011

Beautiful Brokenness.

In these days, I find myself more and more encountering a raw and heart wrenching reflection of the depth of brokenness in my life and in the lives of those around me whom I love so much. Our world is filled with broken people wandering around declaring passionately how very, “fine” they are. But broken we all still are. We try to hide away these big and small areas in our lives hoping that with avoidance and time the wounds will heal. And yet they don't.

Years ago I heard a story about brokenness that caused my perspective to make a vital paradigm shift. It caused me to have the courage to pull out those areas in my life that really weren't fine and hold them up to the God who makes all things new. Friends, read on in the midst of your brokenness and see if the gentle whispers of our gracious God causes your view to shift too...

The glorious day finally came for the new priest to serve the communion elements to the devote crowds. He readied himself inside and out feeling delight in the privilege he had to be the one appointed for the task. He carefully poured the wine into the ornate, crystal goblet, gently placed the bread on the shimmering silver platter and walked into the sanctuary. The elder priest had just finished unfolding the brilliant truths that were to be commemorated in the Lord's Supper and the new priest quickly took his place at the front of the church right on queue.

The priest ceremonially lifted the silver platter with bread proclaiming with great joy the words of Jesus, “This is my body broken for you, do this in remembrance of me.” The bread was passed down each row and the church was filled with whispers overflowing from hearts of humility and gratitude for the Lamb who was slain in their place. As the last row was served, the priest lifted the ornate crystal goblet of wine high. As He did he proclaimed thankfulness to Jesus for His precious blood that was spilled to cover their sins. At the conclusion of the prayer, the young priest felt his nervous, sweaty hands begin to shake and his once steady grip on this sacred communion cup begin to falter. Without warning the priests now slippery hands lost all hold of the cup and the stunning crystal fell and shattered on the floor in a manner with such drama that the priest was sure that it took a year to finally land.

The entire church fell to a hush as the pieces of crystal tinked along the floor spreading the shards in millions of pieces in every direction. The crowd finally exhaled a united gasp and immediately began to mourn the beauty lost and the failure of the new priest. This sacred goblet had been used for generations during these precious memorial moments and now it was completely ruined beyond repair. The young priest stood stunned at first and as if by involuntary movement lowered himself in humiliation towards the broken pieces that now reflected across the floor his immense failure.

As he closed in on the shards of crystal strewn about the mourning crowd and utter embarrassment seemed to disappear. The young priest at once began to be stilled and captivated by the way that the beams of sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows gently and delicately sending beams of brilliant color across the sanctuary floor. The sunshine shimmered and danced among the millions of shards like a joyous waltz in every direction. The young priest had never encountered such beauty like this in all the world. Just as he had lowered himself involuntary to this place of his failure, he felt the corners of his mouth discover a mind of their own as they curled up into the sweetest and most sincerest of smiles. Tears gently streamed down his face as relief and joy overcame him. What had previously been his most horrific moment of failure now became a reason to rejoice in the beauty that had come out of this brokenness.

As time seem to stand still for this now weeping, smiling priest. He was amazed at the fact that the beauty of the this sacred goblet in its former, whole state failed miserably to compare to the magnified and multiplied beauty that was now so easily evident in each delicate broken piece before him. The young priest became hopefully lost in the beauty of this moment knowing that he would never forget this day. What a surprise to meet such unexpected delight in a moment that should have brought such devastation.

This broken crystal goblet and the captivating nature of each piece is symbolic of how God views each intricate aspect of our brokenness. So often we want to grieve over our moments of defeat and pretend that we can hold things all together or quickly clean up the pieces. The truth is we can't. If you and I would just authentically and openly expose the broken pieces of our lives to the restoring Presence of the Living God, we would witness real beauty from our ashes.

God is more interested in letting our brokenness be a doorway for the breathtaking aspects of His character to be reflected and illuminated. When allowed to, His Presence will majestically shine upon in each piece of our broken lives. To God brokenness is beautiful. It is something He can shine through. It is something He can fully restore. It is a brilliant way that His tender, gentle, and powerful resurrection life can burst through us, giving Him maximum glory. We don't have to be fearful of our brokenness. If in humility we offer the millions of shattered pieces to Jesus, He will faithfully shine His light in and through us bringing beauty from our ashes and wholeness we have never known.