Broken Body Made Whole

I never will forget the first Anglican service I attended, when someone looked me squarely in the eye, handed me the bread, and spoke these powerfully personal words: “This is the Body of Christ which was broken for you.”

I thought my legs were going to buckle.

But a whole body, not a broken one, was the trajectory of Jesus’ ministry.  Even before he was broken, he envisioned his body restored, healthy, and whole, where his male and female image bearers—young and old, rich and poor, from every tongue and tribe and nation—coalesce into one healthy, vigorous, fully functioning, interdependent Body of Christ.

The brand of oneness Jesus restores among his male and female image bearers doesn’t depend on sameness—which is what most of us in the Body of Christ keep thinking and why oneness seems perpetually beyond our reach.

“The oneness God envisions doesn’t erase individuality, but actually benefits from and is enriched by their differences. But the oneness for which they are created doesn’t leave God out; rather, it finds its center in him. What unleashes the kingdom potency and the enormous good of this male/female oneness is when, like an astronomical syzygy where gravity pulls three celestial bodies into a straight line, the two of them align with God.

Half the Church

Jesus’ body was broken to end hostility, division, estrangement, injustice, and violence within the human race.  His body is not supposed to remain broken, but to be restored—interconnected into an other-worldly oneness that captures the world’s attention leaves them marveling, “See how they love one another!”

Jesus’ body was broken so that his body might be made whole and that the world might know he has come. That was his prayer for us—

“that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” 

—John 17:21

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6 Responses to Broken Body Made Whole

  1. Mark Denning says:

    I'm always confused about where we get the “broken for you” concept.I've asked my pastors and they just sort of look at me and don't know what to say. All the relevant NT texts just say “this is my body”. Luke and 1 Cor. 11 have the explanatory “given/ which is for you”.

    Here are the passages in TNIV

    Mark 14:22
    22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

    Matthew 26:26
    26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

    Luke 22:19
    And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

    1 Corinthians 11:24

    24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

    I guess Mounce give the answer here, well sort of. Apparently its another one of those KJV phrasings that is permanently ensconced in our (ecclesiastical?) culture.

    http://www.koinoniablog.net/2011/01/monday-with-mounce.html

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  2. Kamilla says:

    In fact, the words of institution are much older than the Authorized Version. They are included in the ancient liturgies of the Church.

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  3. Margaret says:

    “The brand of oneness Jesus restores among his male and female image bearers doesn't depend on sameness…”Exactly! This was such a revelation to me. Women are called to share leadership of the church with men, not because they are like men, but because they are NOT like them. The idea of all male leadership has, I'm afraid, kept the body of Christ from truly representing the image of God. It has been a lopsided image, reflecting largely God's “male” qualities, but failing to reflect His “female” qualities. Individually,we can only reflect a portion of God's image. It takes all of us to form the complete picture–the image of God we were created to bear.

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  4. Mark Denning says:

    Kamilla,

    Are the ancient liturgies older than the Scriptures themselves? Please send some links for further exploration if you know of any.

    Thanks!

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  5. Kamilla says:

    Mark,

    Sorry, I don't have any links handy. It's just one of those things I have learned from being in conversation with Christians whose tradition extends a wee bit farther back than the last big thing (you can probably tell I'm not a huge fan of evangelicalism).

    You could try a few Byzantine Catholic, OCA or Antiochian sites. I'm sure a good number have references to the ancient liturgies.

    Kamilla

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  6. JAT says:

    Somewhere, either on this site or the Synergy site, you say you stand for exegesis. I'm assuming you mean “careful” and “accurate” exegesis. Did you ask Frank about the way you handled the concept of “broken”? I think you need to go back a take a closer look…

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