We had a great day yesterday at church, a group of teenagers from Switzerland who are doing a confirmation class together came and prepared a service and a meal for our Mothers Group (these days ‘grandmothers group’ is probably a more accurate name).
It was beautiful to witness the interactions between young and old, different generations worshiping together. I was talking to a member of the mothers group who was interested in the term ‘brokenness’. She had seen it used by myself and other in the context of Christians and God. She wanted to unlock it a little and discover what I, what we, mean by brokenness.
This caught me off guard, I suppose I had just got used to using this term ‘brokenness’. We had a conversation about it, trying to work out what its all about. I really enjoyed it and found it useful so I thought I would share it in a blog.
For me when we talk about brokenness we are talking about the human condition that always has and always will fall short of the perfection of Christ. In the past I guess words that might have been used instead of brokenness are ‘failure’ or even ‘sin’. The things that separate us from God but also the things that God works on within us.
I like brokenness because its a bit softer. Sin and failure sound harsh, old school and depressing. I don’t want to deny my sin, although I often might hide from it, but I also want to shout about being a new creation in Christ.
Nadia Bolz-Weber points out that ‘We are simultaneously a sinner and a saint, 100 percent of both, all the time’ (Cranky Beautiful Love, great book – read it).
The sinner bit comes from us and the saintliness through the Grace of God. Brokenness is useful because implies that we can be healed, and made whole. It’s about recognising that God brings this wholeness.
It’s also about what we do with this brokenness, do we chuck it away, get rid of it. In his letter to the Corinthians Paul asserts that Gods power is made perfect through our weakness. So maybe if we are open and vulnerable in our brokenness God uses it and us to His glory, or something like that.
I’ve heard it said that only something broken and cracked lets the light shine through it. Maybe through our brokenness and cracks, Jesus’ light can shine through.
It was good to talk yesterday, here is a poem from Jude Simpson called Broken Open, i think its great
If your heart yearns for a more it doesn’t know,
if you’ve suffered blow after blow
and can barely dare to lift your head,
if you’ve ever wished you’d rather been –
if you’ve bled, or tried to bind a wound
if you’ve cried then tied a knot to choke
the flow of hope before it can open up
a way to disappoint again
and leave you broken
then this is for you.
If you’ve longed, if you’ve wronged,
if you choke on the words to your favourite song,
if you need a Doctor,
or you’re beyond
If you’re cracked, if you’re splintered,
if your Winter is just too long,
if this Winter is just too long,
(but the thought of Spring is terrifying,)
Because Jesus came
for the broken brother and sister,
the ache, the pain and the blister,
the wrong decision,
the open wound
the blurred vision
for the insane, the unfulfilled, the searching
the street child, the tramp and the urchin,
the poor little rich girl snorting coke and
cursing, and the man who sold it to her.
Jesus came for those nursing a need,
nursing a drink
out of control,
on the blink,
on the brink,
falling overboard, and about to –
sobbing at the kitchen sink.
Jesus came for those the world drives mad,
for the bad, yes the bad,
Jesus came for the bad,
so if that’s never been you,
then fine, just go, because
Jesus didn’t come for the well, the swell,
“the hell – I’ve got everything I need”
the nothing’s-lacking, the non-cracking up.
He’s not interested in courting the sorted
he came to fill the cup of the thirsty,
the worst, the broken, the burst open,
Jesus came for the sick.
the packed-up, the cracked-up,
the smashed, hopes dashed, and the picked-on,
the meek, the weak, the stuttering,
those who blush when they speak
and the walked-out-on.
Jesus came for the left behind,
for the cheats and the cheated,
the ones who crossed the line
and the ones who still don’t know where to begin.
Jesus came for the people who know how it feels
when you say “sin”
for the broken to open,
to break for those who choke,
for the people who don’t have everything we need,
for the ones who know we need hope.
Here is a video on Youtube of Jude performing the poem