When you offer up your broken cup
In my office sits a broken chalice. It’s always interesting when people see it. The most frequent response is, “Oh no, what happened?!” I get to respond with a big smile on my face, “It’s a broken chalice. Isn’t it awesome?!” There is typically a pause and a confused look. I then say something like, “Can I share why?”
When I was in college one of my dear friends on chapel staff broke one of the chalices. I desperately wanted it, but alas, since she broke it, she got it. It sits in her office where she serves as campus pastor at our alma mater. I have wanted my own ever since.
In college one of my favorite musicians was Bebo Norman. His music was often the perfect soundtrack to my faith journey. One particular song, Walk Down This Mountain, was one of my favorites. You can take a listen here. Bebo’s chorus (for those who didn’t have time to listen) says:
So walk down this mountain
With your heart held high
Follow in the footsteps of your maker
With this love that’s gone before you
And these people at your side
If you offer up your broken cup
You will taste the meaning of this life
This song is a reflection on the transfiguration story. The Transfiguration is this moment in Jesus’ ministry where he takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain and there is transfigured. Jesus becomes dazzling and bright. Then, Moses and Elijah appear and in Peter’s excitement and amazement he wants to build a shelter for each so they can stay there. They don’t, because that is not the heart of Jesus’ ministry. They go back down the mountain and immediately Jesus is approached by a man whose son is in need of healing. They go down the mountain and are immediately in the presence of God’s grace and mercy.
Often times in life we can feel like we need to always have it together and strive for perfection. We try to hide our vulnerability, questions, doubts — our brokenness. The world around us sends messages that if we aren’t a rugged individualist, we are doing it wrong. However, this broken chalice, this song, reminds me that life is fuller when I hold on to a different truth and message: that when we are honest about our brokenness, our struggles, our doubts, questions or vulnerabilities, we create space for others to be honest themselves. When we are honest about our cracks it allows us to admit that we need others, we need God, to help hold things and piece them back together. When others are honest with us, there is space for us to share our gifts, our love, and the grace we have received with them. If I think that faith is about doing it all on my own, keeping it together, and striving for perfection, I become a person that pushes away God’s love and grace (after all, I convince myself it is not for me).
We often push away others, trying to maintain perceptions and masks of perfection, strength, and “non-brokenness,” building up walls to hide behind. These walls keep me from seeing or empathizing with others’ cracks because often when we see someone else’s truth it might make us confront our own. These walls keep us from the authentic grace-filled community we were created to live in with one another. When we no longer hide those cracks in our lives, it can allow others’ love, and God’s love, to seep in. We can fully taste the gift of grace, support, compassion, and love. When I have allowed myself to remember this, to strive to be the authentic person created in the image of God, I find that the love that helps to put my pieces back together makes me stronger to support others in their beautiful broken self.
Feb. 12, 2020
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A call to courage for 2021
- A charming tale for over-achievers
- A Lesson On Beans … and Being
- A New Place
- A Point of Privilege
- A season of anticipation
- A Time of Dust
- Acquiring a peaceful spirit
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Anastasis: the Greatest Story of God’s Saving Power
- Another kind of darkness
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- As if we needed a reminder
- Beacons of hope
- Better Together
- Blessings As You Go
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Carrying the COVID Cross
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Don’t miss this moment
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Fear of the Lord
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting ahead with Jesus
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Getting through this together
- God is not overwhelmed
- Good Friday
- Grief & Graduation
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How do you keep from giving up hope?
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- I almost slipped
- Imagining Eternity
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In everything, grateful
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Jesus among us
- Killing off our future selves
- Knowing a Good Thing When We See It
- Lessons in fire building
- Let there be light!
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Lilies and leaves and whatever else is beautiful
- Living in the Present
- Naming our demons
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- On the day after the night before
- Persistent and Extravagant
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Praying for Reconciliation
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Rest is Holy
- Right where we are
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Surprisingly Simple: Breathe!
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Art of Holy Week
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Trouble with Mammon
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- This can’t be done alone
- To be known
- You might be a Lutheran if…
- You will be in our prayers this summer of 2020
- Ventures of which we cannot see the ending
- WWJD? We already know
- Walking in the Light of Jesus’ Resurrection
- We had hoped
- We’re on a mission from God
- What do you do with your anger?
- What good is a shepherd?
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When God uses something terrible for good
- When heaven & earth click
- When joy and sadness live together
- When stress overwhelms
- When the promise of resurrection is hard to believe
- When you offer up your broken cup
- When we are moved
- Where God will be found
- Where is the good shepherd carrying you?
- Wilderness Journeys
- Won’t you be my neighbor?
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future