“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad”
I roll out of bed groggy, but give thanks before my feet hit the floor the way Dad taught me.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good — his mercy endures forever”
The verses rise unbidden from some dark corner of my mind. Songs from church, memorized snippets . . . thank God for parents who made me memorize. And thank God for force of habit and the Holy Spirit who brings these things to mind, for I do not feel thankful. I feel broken, inadequate, not ready to face the day.
“Thank the Lord, for he is good . . . “
The litany takes the reins of my tired brain and pulls it sky-ward, heaven-ward, sets my eyes on the One who became broken for me. I am going to mass, to Eucharist: eucharisteo, in Greek “to give thanks.” It is the place where brokenness and thanks go hand-in-hand, where in fact we celebrate through and with and as the broken body of Christ. In the Eucharist, brokenness and death are charged with life and given meaning.
Ann Voskamp, in her lovely book The Broken Way, recalls how Jesus by the Sea of Galilee gave thanks for what was not enough, then broke and offered it. “The miracle happens in the breaking”, she writes. “Not enough was given thanks for, and then the miracle happened: There was a breaking and giving—into a kind of communion—into abundant filling within community. The miracle happens in the breaking.” (pgs. 30-31)
I’ve often seen that, as I’m sure you have. We’ve all given thanks and prayed that God would take our not enough and make it more. But to multiply, he breaks. To multiply himself for us, he broke on the cross; now he gives himself in tiny bits of Body and sips of Blood, enough for everyone until the end of time. That we his earthly body might also be enough, we place our broken not-enoughness in his hands, give thanks with him and allow a further breaking. A further pouring out. We “offer it up” together with his Passion and allow God’s mighty Resurrection power to do its work.
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)
Grateful now within my broken state (no longer just in spite of it), I offer my weary not-enoughness with thanks today for what I am: a broken vessel through whose cracks, perhaps, God’s light will shine. A planted seed, splitting open to allow a shoot to push through the dark soil and flourish. I submit to the breaking, give thanks from within his hands — and wait for the miracle.
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Today’s first reading is lovely, and so pertinent. Spend some time with it if you can. Listen to his word. And “may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep . . . furnish you with all that is good” (you who haven’t enough on your own) “that you may do his will.” Here’s the reading, in part (emphasis mine):
Brothers and sisters:
Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise,
that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;
God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.
May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
© 2017 Sarah Christmyer