broken pieces

Water gushed into the newly renovated women’s shelter. Can they move (back) into NCF while they repair the damage? Of course! What a gift to be able to say yes. Our building has been a continuous resource to the community throughout the pandemic- housing Austin’s Place to be a year-round shelter for the first time ever, serving as the food pantry for the Greater Community AIDS Project, providing office space for Jeff Trask and the Champaign County Christian Healthcare Center board, and morphing into a studio for musicians recording worship songs to be available around the world. 

Pipes break. Hearts break. So many things are broken. Systems, in particular. All the brokenness can overwhelm us. Where do we even start? 

His disciples responded, “How can anyone get enough food in this wilderness to satisfy these people?” Mark 8:4 (CEB)

It began with compassion. Jesus saw the people’s need, and wanted to provide. So he asked the disciples what they had. They gave him seven loaves. Jesus took them and broke them. And asked the disciples to give them away. 

Do you ever feel like Jesus sees a need, asks what you have, then takes it and breaks it and gives it away? Sometimes it feels very personal. When I heard Jesus talking about broken pieces today, I didn’t want to listen. Furthermore, like the disciples, I probably don’t understand. 

When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’ Mark 8:19-21

I’ve been crying a bit to the Lord lately. You asked for my heart, took it and broke it, and gave a piece of it away. Love and let go.Sometimes we get stuck in one part of the story. Or, like the disciples, we quickly forget. All the people who were fed. How Jesus provided. The baskets full of broken pieces gathered up. Not wasted. 

Jesus told the disciples to watch out. Beware the yeast of the religious and political establishment. But they were worried that they hadn’t brought enough bread to eat. What am I worried about? Or you? That Jesus won’t feed us? That there won’t be enough to go around? That if we give him what we have, he will break it and give it away?

In order to create abundance, Jesus had to break what was offered. As he would later allow himself to be broken. What was passed around, fulfilling every need, and gathered up to be more than what began- it was all broken pieces. In Jesus’ hands, what we have and who we are is multiplied through brokenness. 

Rend your heart and not your garments. Joel 2:13

Allow your heart to be broken. Is that what Jesus is saying today? To trust him to provide for us and others. That there will be more than enough. To beware of the inclination toward self-preservation. Allow ourselves to be given away.

Lent begins tomorrow. I do not know where the journey will take us. But we have gotten into the boat with Jesus. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear what he will teach us out here on the water. 

“Presence over Plans: Learning from Elijah”
2/14 Order of Service

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