You are what you break (Luke 24: 13-25)

You are what you break –
bread.
On the day the stranger walked with them
down the Emmaus Road,
it wasn’t the prophecies he explained,
or even the companionship
on a journey of loss,
or even, well,
having that risen body.
No, they knew the Risen One
in his breaking of the bread.

You are what you break – bread.

You are what you break –
stereotypes,
the barriers put up by prejudices
so old no one remembers
how they came to be,
or so recent they are walls
hastily mortared
around recent hurts.
You are what you break – stereotypes.

You are what you break –
family patterns and personal defenses,
racial lines and glass ceilings,
a few “people will talk,”
and lots and lots of
“we’ve always done it this way.”

You are what you break –
the boundaries between
old and young,
English-speakers
and those with other beautiful words,
religious faiths that don’t trust each other,
cultural identities so rich
and so afraid of dying,

the boundaries between
workers in cubicles
and operating theatres and garages,
the boundaries between
shoppers at Neiman Marcus and Target,
graduates of Yale and Lincoln High,
those with a record,
and those who think
that’s just retro music on vinyl.

You are what you break –
the hidden codes
of the middle school cafeteria,
break room, water cooler, faculty lounge,
Thanksgiving dinner in the family
of your fragile new marriage.

You are what you break –
the lie that a sweet wedding kiss
between man and man
or woman and woman
will somehow steal another’s sweetness,
and any of the other lies
that people put in God’s mouth.

You are what you break –
the addiction to alcohol or drugs
scratch tickets, spank video
or Face Book.
You are what you break –
fears — of flying, small spaces or the dark,
of the gender in your brain,
saying “yes” to hospice,
or taking your children and going
to the shelter.

You are what you break –
and it’s all bread once it’s broken.
It’s how we feed each other,
how we know what it is
that makes our hearts burn bright.

It’s how we finally recognize
that the holy Stranger’s
been with us all the time.

commune4

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6 Responses to You are what you break (Luke 24: 13-25)

  1. Dave Kraner says:

    Maren…how beautiful and timely. Thank you. Ellie Kraner

  2. Mark Rideout says:

    Oh, Maren, you have captured, and released something essential to moving this scripture from the table out into hearts or homes, through helplessness and beyond even….hope.
    Thank you for this grace point! ~Mark Rideout

  3. Maren says:

    All my ministerial life I have skipped the word “breaking” and gone right to “bread” — he was known in the bread. But they don’t even eat it … Communion interrupted, indeed. I’ve been brooding this for the last couple weeks.

  4. Lynne Frith says:

    Maren, I am lost for words. This piece of yours is so beautiful, and so relevant. Like you, I hadn’t noticed before that they didn’t eat the bread. Thanks for the insight. Lynne Frith

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