Day Two, Saturday, January 19:  Walking with the broken body of Christ

                Recognizing the solidarity between Christ crucified, and the ―broken peoples of the world, such as the Dalits, we seek as Christians together to learn to be more deeply a part of this solidarity ourselves. In particular, the relation of Eucharist and justice is opened up, and Christians invited to discover practical ways of Eucharistic living in the world.

Reflection 

Today’s mode of walking is alongside the broken body of Christ. We live in a shattered world. From the Dalits to the elderly woman lining up for her daily bread at the neighborhood food bank, communities and individuals appear [are?] broken. Our initial response is to mourn. In this grief, we honor, see, hear, and validate stories of pain and suffering. We stand in solidarity with those who have been marginalized, silenced, and shattered.
Yet, grief alone is not this walk’s destination. Our prayer is to see a holistic reality, a truth that finds the good amidst injustice. To seek justice is to seek truth; to seek truth is to seek justice. When we search for truth, justice, and mercy, we observe the power of the oppressed, the joy buried in the sorrow, and the light hiding among the shadows. We are broken and whole, we are poor and we are rich, we are weak and we are strong. We are a both-ness.
This both/and is found clearly in the ultimate paradox of faith, the broken body of someone whole. Christ is fully human (broken) and fully divine (whole). Likewise, we are both weak and strong, simultaneously and continuously. Often we get stuck seeing the negatives, only the sorrow. Without minimizing harsh realities, we must look for a richer picture, a holistic strength-based view of a broken world. All persons, from the Dalits to the person next to you at the food bank, have strengths. Dalit children play, creating friendships that sustain self and other. A woman mourns her disconnection from family while using the space at her table to feed the hungry. What are our strengths? What sustains and bolsters individuals, families, and communities? Strengths are often found within a balance, or another both: structure and flexibility, independence and belonging, cohesion and fluidity. We pray to identify, maintain, and create our own strengths and the strengths of others. And, we pray to find our balance.
Resiliency research indicates that the most important factor to thrive in the face of adversity is to have the support of a caring other. We have one another in our brokenness. When we are alone, we walk humbly with God. Energy flows between and among souls. Perhaps wholeness is found in the rule of complementarity: One person has words when another is silent; another person has a plan during another’s spontaneous action. Together, we are whole.
It is a privilege to hear “the both”, the story of our holistic brokenness. In such, we comprehend a richer narrative that is ever changing. In searching for this complexity, our curiosity is refined, our ability to see the invisible sharpened. We become stronger to stand with others in solidarity. We attached deeply to others as we listen, seek strengths, and share our resources.

Amen.

Christie Eppler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pastoral Counseling
Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

God of compassion, your Son died on the Cross so that by his broken body our divisions might be destroyed. Yet we have crucified him again and again with our disunity, and with systems and practices which obstruct your loving care and undermine your justice towards those who have been excluded from the gifts of your creation. Send us your Spirit to breathe life and healing into our brokenness that we may witness together to the justice and love of Christ. Walk with us towards that day when we can share in the one bread and the one cup at the common table. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.

Questions

  1. In light of that prophetic tradition in which God desires justice, rather than ritual without righteousness, we need to ask: how is the Eucharist, the mystery
  2. of Christ‘s brokenness and new life, celebrated in all the places where we walk?
  3. What might we do, as Christians together, better to witness to our unity in Christ in places of brokenness and marginality?

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