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While I broke bread this morning

Nothing is perfect.

If you look deep enough and search diligently enough you will find imperfections in the most beautiful moment, the perfect sunset, the perfect symphony, the perfect verse.

Perfection or imperfection is in the eye of the beholder, or sometimes just the angle from which you look.

I am a one on the Enneagram. That means that I am a reformer. I handle my own pain and fear by changing my environment. You may be a six on the Enneagram who handles your pain and fear by avoidance. You try to stay out of trouble by never taking risks. We both are just trying to accomodate the imperfections of this life. Another word for imperfection is brokenness. The brokenness is everywhere.

The connection with the broken bread.

When Jesus at the last supper broke the bread and connected the broken bread to his own person, he was saying something about the brokenness of his own humanity. He gave them the bread and said, "Take eat, this is my body given to you". Paul uses the words, "broken for you" in his letter to the Corinthians.

We used to interpret it in the light of the crucifixion that was lying ahead of him and we have all used his words to evangelise or to "claim" healing or a maybe a Mercedes. "By his stripes ..."

What if he was saying something deeper?

Picture the scene. They have just had supper, while Jesus had taught some of the most profound things ever. They are still around the table and the disciples have no idea what lies ahead that night. Jesus takes a loaf of bread, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to them.

And he says: "What you are going to experience in the next few days is going to mess up the picture you have of me. I am going to come tumbling down from the pedestal you have put me on. You are going to experience my imperfection, my broken humanity, my inability to control my own destiny. You are going to see me in total vulnerability. You are going to see me bleeding and naked without cover and without remedy.

Guys, you are going to see me out of control and you will all run from that image. So, take this bread and eat it. When you take it into your body, know that this is my humanity, that like this broken bread, my humanity is not perfect. My very out-of-controlness may be like gravel between your teeth. You may even break a tooth or two.

But you need to eat my life like broken bread ... to remember. Remember that I am not perfection, I am also broken, I will die. I entered into the same pain you are living in and I entered fully into it to my last breath. You will see this brokenness, this loveless reality consume me and you will have to remember that I told you so.

For three years I have eaten your brokenness and now you must eat mine. You will have to find me in the pain and when you find me, you will know that there is hope for when the skin breaks, the blood flows and as you know from Moses, “the life is in the blood”.

The real me is in the blood. The perfection is in the blood. And when you see the blood, remember that I am both. I am broken flesh and life-blood. I am imperfection and perfection at the same time and like you, I will carry the marks of my temporary imperfection within my perfection forever.

Then he takes the cup of wine and says: "This wine is the New Covenant in my blood". The seal I apply to the promise that hidden within the brokenness of my body, is perfection and healing and future and hope. Drink the wine, and taste the perfection that is in each one of you, hidden behind the veil of your broken lives.

And when you see the blood on my face and back and hands and feet, and you look at the puddle of my life lying at the foot of a cross, know that my Father has sealed his promise to you with his own life. Nothing can change that and you can remember for the next three days that this wine is your promise that I will rise again. It is our statement to you of the power that is hidden under the skin of this life, the same power you carry for we are one, I in you and you in me and I in my Father."

And I took the bread this morning, broke it and ate it and I remembered that nothing is going to be perfect today but every imperfection can be a passage into perfection and my day suddenly made sense. As I ate the hard rice cake and it broke under my teeth, the promise in the blood was released as faith into my mind and I remembered and I discovered hope in my pain and in the pain of this world.

In the gaping wound left by a Pandemic, in the broken skin of state capture and delusion and an increased murder rate and faltering justice system; in the pain of systemic racism, in the broken bread of femmicide, of Gay-bashing, of religion.

But, I have to face all of it, be willing to take it all into myself, eat it, make it mine until I am also part of the same brokenness. And I realise that I am sharing this brokenness with the politicians and murderers and thieves and liars and bigots. And as I did what Jesus did and let go of my position of perfection, of my feelings of superiority and remember that even he was just broken bread, I realise that we are all one.

And I can say with him, "Father forgive us for we just do not understand."

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Joe de Swardt
Joe de Swardt
Jun 05, 2021

Fresh for me to see imperfection in this broken bread way. Cursed duality can so dilute the unique 'outcarnation' (emptying out so as to fit the shape of us) Jesus embraced in the act of 'being' a mere single participant of the sea of humanity (preceding back to the start, and reaching out to the end). Jesus outcarnated, symbolised by organic, stone ground, flattened, pounded, unbleached, demicrobed, torn to peaces broken gluten substance. We incarnated with microbe rich, sun drenched, terroir flavoured earth blood with a bit of alcoholic spirit. And so we connect.

Stephan Vosloo
Stephan Vosloo
Jun 05, 2021
Replying to

Wow I love the terms. “Outcarnated“ is a beautiful and descriptive of the kenotic path of Christ. Brilliant thoughts that enriched me thank you.

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