Friday, April 27, 2007

Emmaus and communion

I started writing this just after Easter as a few thoughts on the Emmaus story. I left it half-written and came back to it today. Somehow, in the interim, it transmuted into some thoughts on how we, too, know Him in the breaking of the bread (a part of the story we sometimes don't quite know what to do with)


You are known in the breaking of the bread.
You are known in the breaking of my heart.
In the breaking of the morning,
And the falling of the night
I will praise your name.

Two walked slowly, mired with grief
And the road that left Jerusalem was now their sorrowed way
For the daylight turns to darkness when deep hope is crucified
And black pain danced around them, but its mocking voice
Fell on dead ears, the soul-reft are too numb.

With downcast eyes, they never saw the stranger
Till He fell in by the way, making conversation
Almost too hard to speak.
Is there no release,
From the whirligig of pressure, the requirement to respond?
How could it be
That their whole world had crumbled right away
While this man walked in steadfast ignorance?

Lord that I might know you
In the place where every understanding shatters,
In the death of hope, in the tears of silence,
Here let me still believe you understand ..
You took the cup that we might take the cup
And drink the sweetness of transfigured gall

How do you tell
The breaking of a life, hope’s slaughterhouse,
That hideous hell: redemption gone awry?
How do you speak
In civil tones the rank unspeakable?

Such a strange man!
Into raw pain He spoke theology
(Having first made them speak their pain to Him)
He told them of the scriptures as they walked
Weaving a different pattern with His words,
Salvation that was not as they supposed
A saviour who must suffer to redeem
A dying that was planned before all life ..

Lord, that I might see Your resurrection
In each day’s dying, never let mere words
Blind me to the transcendent Son of God
Here, by my side, with scars upon His hands,
Offering still Himself in place of me .

With numb politeness, yet with burning hearts,
Bleeding, confused, yet strangely satisfied,
They hung on words that washed right over them
And then at journey’s end, they asked Him in:
Their journey was begun.

In the breaking of the bread, he broke their hearts
With wonder.
He gave thanks, and filled despair
With bright thanksgiving.
To their opened eyes
He vanished from their sight, but is not gone
Nor ever, ever shall be gone again
In whom dominion rests forever more.

In this place of appointing give the broken bread
To broken hearts, to broken lives, today.
And lift us into thanks, who are your own
By holiness made whole,
To learn to love,
And sing the resurrection laughter song.

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