Love Broken Open

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it, he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ (Mark 14:26)

A retired pastor once wrote: Sunday morning arrives, and a longing stirs my soul, an emptiness and desire to do the thing I miss most about being a pastor: the soul-satisfying sweetness of breaking a piece of bread from a loaf and placing it in the empty hands of people I knew and greatly cared for.

Pastors, priests, and similar religious figures live out their calling in broken places. The script for this was written long ago. We would say, ‘The body of Christ,’ repeatedly, ‘The body of Christ broken for you,’ repeating the words until the last person was fed and the remnants of the loaf returned to the table.

Some people looked us in the eye as we spoke, while others looked at the floor or their empty hands, avoiding the intimacy others sought. Everyone was fed, but it seemed like we needed it the most (at least, that’s what my heart always felt). We were fortunate to speak the words of the heart, whose greatest joy is to be vulnerable and share with people like us – regardless of who we are, what we’ve done, how far we’ve fallen, or the state of our lives.
In breaking and giving the bread, I sincerely believe I am giving away to each person a love “who” doesn’t ask questions. We all need it, and I felt immense joy because the words opened my heart. Even on days when my heart felt dry, and emotions failed to flow, even when I was giving bread to someone I knew didn’t much like me, simply saying the words and breaking bread opened my heart to love despite myself. All of us together were sharing a great and holy mystery that is true whether you believe in it or not.

The mystery is this: Jesus was willing to offer his body out of his deep love for humanity. God, who is inherently loving, is willing to go to great lengths to reconcile and redeem us, God’s creation. Love, in its deepest form, often involves a level of brokenness. To truly love is to be vulnerable, to risk being hurt, and to share in the sufferings of others. In these moments of brokenness, the true essence of love is most profoundly revealed.

The mystery is this: Breaking bread signifies Jesus’ body providing physical and spiritual sustenance for our life’s journey. Inviting the disciples, us, to partake in his body, Jesus shares himself entirely, embodying the essence of love that is selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional to accompany us and show us the way to God’s heart.

The mystery is this: Like Jesus, whose joy it is to give himself away, our joy and fulfillment of heart are found (or finds us) exactly when our hearts are broken open, and we love without asking questions. We sit together, broken, loving the person across the breakfast table, loving the hurting souls we see on the evening news, loving the hum of a billion cicadas serenading our every waking hour, loving the lives we are given, and even the lives of those we don’t like.

Thus, being broken is not the end but a transformative process. It reminds us that love can be deepened and strengthened through our own experiences of brokenness—heartache, loss, or sacrifice. It is in these broken places that God’s love enters most profoundly, bringing healing, restoration, and a deeper understanding of what it means to love and be loved truly.

The retired pastor wrote: Recently, I have been feeling spiritually dry. My morning prayer has been distracted, my meditation has felt empty, and my petitions have been half-hearted. God has seemed far off, and my soul has been devoid of joy. This experience happens to many people, including great saints, mystics, and even regular folks like me. Every time it happens, our troubled hearts, longing to experience the love of Jesus, may start to doubt or even despair of ever feeling the affection and comfort we desire. But we don’t need to lose hope. Consolation will return. We must remain open and allow life to touch and move us.
Then, a remarkable story I read opened me up to the mystery once again. It was about an 80-year-old who describes what she is doing: riding her bike and getting pledges to fund a world hunger ministry.

Before I knew it, tears of joy welled up in my eyes. My heart was broken open to love once again because I loved telling the story about the love that resides in her 80-year-old heart for hungry people. As I read the story, that same love cracked the hard crust around my heart, allowing me to feel once more the mystery of the One who loves and lives in us. My heart awakened, and I felt again what it means to be truly alive, one with the joy of Jesus.

Reflection: Reflecting on the deep love that Jesus demonstrated by breaking bread and sharing it as His body, consider this: In what ways can the experiences of our own brokenness, whether through heartache, loss, or personal struggles, become opportunities to share and embody a love that is selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional? How can our broken places become conduits for God’s healing and transformative love in the lives of those around us?

Pray with me: Loving God, in our brokenness, reveal Your profound love. Transform our pain into a channel of Your healing and redemptive love. Teach us to love selflessly, as Jesus did, and to bring hope and comfort to others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Written by Rev. Kay Dubuisson





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