TEXTS: Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16
Brokenness and Wholeness in Our Lives and World
The past week held the cries of our dear sister Sandra’s suffering in Swedish Hospital. And it held the cries of our youngest child-of-the-Church, Emily born to Christy and Kong. Of course there have been many other cries of new life and of suffering this week. We live in a world of birthing and brokenness. God did not create and does not desire brokenness. Lives and creation are broken for many reasons – some a mystery and some of our own making. In brokenness and wholeness our journey with Jesus continues. Today and the next 3 Sundays with Jesus we encounter brokenness and wholeness (Mark 10). In that context we hear the gospel of Jesus Christ according to Mark.
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ Jesus answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’
Then in the house the disciples asked Jesus again about this matter. He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’
Brokenness becomes Wholeness in Communion
Our gospel journey-encounter with Jesus here mostly deals with divorce. We are not addressing broken marriages explicitly or exclusively today. Here we simply acknowledge that we experience brokenness in marriage in many ways. We know other broken relationships as well. Jesus’ presence and purpose is to bring healing to our brokenness wherever it occurs.
Jesus speaks in familiar language of “one flesh” about marriage. Rather than “one flesh” being giving up one’s self it is a giving one’s self to the other. God gave God’s self in Jesus as an enfleshed reality – God becomes human in Jesus. Marriage is an enfleshed reality. Brokenness and suffering intrudes in our enfleshed reality. Jesus is the healing wholeness for our brokenness as well as the model of God enfleshed. Having named something about broken relationships Jesus follows it with blessing. Children, who is Jesus inviting and blessing here? Children! All God’s children! In the midst of all the bustle of people and pain surrounding Jesus come children. Parents bring children to Jesus in one of the most compelling stories in the gospel. What happens when Jesus is surrounded by children? Two things happen: Disciples discourage children and shoo them away. Jesus calls children to himself and blesses them. Jesus was also indignant at the disciples shooing children away.
‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; [Why?] for it is to such as these that the reign of God belongs. Whoever does not receive the reign of God as a little child will never enter it.’ Jesus took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
God’s reign is for God’s children. God’s children are for God’s reign. That is our worship theme for these 4 Sundays with Jesus in Mark 10. We are all God’s children and God’s reign has already begun in Jesus. [already – call to worship] Jesus takes our brokenness and brings us to healing wholeness….into Communion with Christ.
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
The Letter to the Hebrews declares that God spoke to our ancestors in the faith and in Jesus.
Jesus is the reflection of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s very being sustaining all things. In Jesus, God brings God’s children to glory in and through suffering.
Jesus took on our suffering, our brokenness and offers us healing wholeness. This is our communion with God. This is who we are and what we celebrate in Communion. God becomes material being in Jesus, takes on human reality in Jesus. For the sake of our brokenness Jesus takes bread and identifies himself with it. Jesus becomes material reality symbolized in material reality in bread and wine. On this World Communion Sunday with God’s children around the world we come to the Lord’s Table to receive the gift of bread and cup of this feast of love from our God in Christ.
We are God’s children nourished in the food of God’s reign. This is food that heals our brokenness and nourishes us into wholeness. This is our communion with Christ so that become Christ in and for the world. Here we are grounded in God’s good earth to grow and flourish as God’s children. Here we receive the water of life and are blessed by Jesus Christ who calls us to follow. Here we bear the fruit of the Spirit – the fruit of God’s Word and Table in worship.