This Is My Body (Part 2)
Last week I said that in the Lord’s Supper, God offers the solution to our most pervasive and devastating problem—the problem of our brokenness. This brokenness is all around us. We experience it much like a fish experiences the water he swims in. It is everywhere we look, and we cannot escape it. This brokenness surrounds us and everyone we know. It is the pervasive problem that plagues humanity relentlessly.
I want to talk about two kinds of brokenness we experience: physical brokenness and spiritual brokenness.
First, when I refer to physical brokenness, I am referring to problems with our physical bodies that cause us to deteriorate and fall apart. Let me give you some examples of this from my own experience. I have a friend whose wife is dying of brain cancer. I also live next door to a couple who has been trying to have children for the last five years but cannot seem to get pregnant. And my wife’s family has witnessed one of their matriarchs with Alzheimer’s slowly slip away from them, so that she is hardly recognizable as the woman she used to be. Not to mention all of the various and sundry ways that our bodies are deteriorating with the slow decay of aging.
Now, some people will hear me talk about these things and say, “Well, death and decay are just a natural part of life.” But that’s crazy talk. If that is true—if death and loss are just a normal part of life—then why does everything within us cry out the exact opposite? Why, when I see my neighbors playing with my children, and I realize that their joy over my little ones is bittersweet because they long to have children of their own but are unable to conceive—why does this fill me with sorrow? Why does it fill them with sorrow to be childless, if random failures of the human body that prevent a couple from conceiving are “just a natural part of life”? Is their sadness irrational? No, what is irrational is the suggestion that this is “normal” and that we just need to learn to “deal with it.” Something is wrong with us. We are confronted with our physical brokenness.
But secondly, we experience spiritual brokenness, by which I am referring to our fractured relationships—with one another, yes, but ultimately with God. Ask yourself: have you ever hurt someone else, either with your words or with your actions? We all have done this, and do it daily. And many of the people we hurt are people we love dearly. Why is this? Why is my deep, deep love for my most treasured friends and family members not enough to keep me from hurting them? Clearly, something is wrong with us.
The brokenness in our relationships with one another is ultimately caused by our broken relationship with our Creator, the One we were made to know and love and find our joy in. Think about it: why is there so much depression and emptiness among even the richest nations in the world? Why are even the most privileged in society never satisfied with what they have? It’s because we are made to find our satisfaction and joy in God, but because of sin are born separated from him. Then, when we experience the emptiness that our alienation with God causes, we try to fill that void with other things (such as possessions, money, power, sex, relationships, etc.). But it never works, because our hearts will only find their rest in the God who made us for himself. Something is wrong with us—and it stems from our broken relationship with our Creator.
Next week we will talk about different ways people respond to this brokenness.