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Friday, March 25, 2016

For Good Friday: A Body Bruised and Bloodied

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"This is my body, broken for you."

A human body has height and weight, flesh and blood, skeleton and skin. It is made up of muscles and tendons, neurons and nerve cells, lungs and lymph nodes, distinctive shades of eye, hair and skin color, pleasure centers and pain receptors, all complex and amazing.

"This is my body, broken for you."

A human body is vulnerable to bruises, lacerations, exhaustion, hunger, concussions, diseases, contusions, hemorrhaging, agonizing pain, thirst, abrasions, fractures, infections, seizures, death.

"This is my body, broken for you."

In his incarnation, Jesus did not come as a disembodied spirit, as one who merely resembled a body, or who simply inhabited one. He "emptied himself" of divine powers and privileges and took on the physicality of the most ordinary of humans, a 'doulos' or slave, one who exists for the service of others.

"This is my body, broken for you."

As Protestants, we have tended to interpret as figurative Jesus's references to the bread and cup of the Last Supper being his very flesh and blood. But should we pay more attention to the Eucharist as God's way of ending the divide between us, as God truly becoming incarnate in us, as Jesus bodily living and reproducing himself through us?

"This is my body, broken for you."

In partaking of the Lord's Supper, we are not only recalling the death of Jesus, but we are celebrating his resurrection. We are experiencing the reality that Jesus lives on in his followers, continues his mission of announcing good news to the poor, of liberating captives and bringing healing and shalom salvation into the world through his reborn people. 

"This is my body, broken for you."

As Servant-Savior, Jesus experiences the full impact of the suffering brought on by the world's violence and evil. And he continues to suffer in the bodies of the world's refugees, those who are lost and lonely, broken and homeless, those experiencing the ravages of famine and disease, all who traumatized and brutalized by war, and all who are victims of state sponsored terrorism as he himself was.

Having endured it all in his broken body, God has declared an end to its evil, offers the world a new life redeemed from it. 

If only we would fully receive God's brokenness, ingest it bodily, and have it become an ongoing part of our own everyday rescued and resurrected lives.
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