Pastor Paul appreciatively accepted the gift of the communion chalice and tucked it into his backpack for safekeeping. When he later opened his backpack, he found shattered shards of pottery. He glued the chalice back together and, despite its visible cracks, used it when he celebrated communion.
Paul came to our church yesterday to preach on the Lord’s Supper. When he opened his backpack, alas, the chalice was broken again.
If you visit our church, you’ll notice right away a room full of broken people. Alcoholics and drug addicts, some recovering, some not. A generous assortment of physical and mental infirmities. Most in the room victims of sexual abuse. Families badly fractured. Some who have to go to prison to visit their family members; others whose family have had to come to prison to visit them.
You wouldn’t know all these stories, but still, you’d know: broken people are welcome here.
The apostle Paul could have been writing about us when he said, “Few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.Instead, God chose…things that are powerless…. God chose things despised by the world,things counted as nothing at all” (1 Cor. 1:26-28 NLT).
The other thing you’d notice (many guests have noticed) is, these folks really love each other. You’d see smiles, laughter, hugs galore.
We have an open mic time we call God sightings. Yesterday Mitch called Linda up to stand beside him as he shared his God sighting, the story of how his family and Linda’s had been friends for 30 years, raised their families together. How Linda and Mitch’s mom (now with Jesus) had often argued but never quit loving each other. As Mitch shared, Linda lay her head on Mitch’s shoulder and wept saying, “You’re my God sighting too.” Theirs were not the only moist eyes.
Look at us one by one and you see messy, broken people. But…and this is a wondrous but… together we are amazing!
Writing again to the uneducated, poor, powerless Corinthians, Paul continues: “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves” (2 Cor. 4:7 NLT).
And that is the wonder of cracked pottery. God’s light shines all the more brightly through us when no one can confuse us with the Source of the light.
As the service ended yesterday, Paul announced to our church, “I’m going to glue this chalice back together and give it to you—broken, mended, but still cracked.”
We are the broken cup. Through our brokenness, not in spite of it, his light shines all the more brightly, and broken people are drawn to him.
When people come to your church or small group, are your brokenness and your love for one another equally evident? Are broken people drawn to the light they see shining through you?