Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Broken Body, Resurrection Hope: Day 18 of the April Poetry Challenge

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Today is Good Friday – the culmination of the Lenten contemplation of our personal and communal brokenness and our need for the Resurrection that comes on Easter Sunday.

I am feeling, pretty desperately, the need for that resurrection hope after the past few months. Ever since returning to the States in January from our European sojourn I’ve felt compelled to re-engage in a way I had been resisting while I had the excuse of a separating ocean. Specifically, I’ve been re-engaging with the American Church. In a blessed and wonderful that has meant re-engaging with the congregation that sent us out three years ago, and what a homecoming that has been. I have never in my life felt so grateful for a church family.

More broadly, however, this has meant re-engaging with the Christian Culture Wars that are rending the American Church into mutually despising pieces. I have a side in these wars, and I can’t pretend they are over petty things that we should just agree to stop fighting about. Scriptural Authority and the Love of Neighbor are really major issues that go to the core of people’s beliefs – I get that. There is no easy solution.

And yet, my heart has been breaking, each time I read a new Kissing Fish article, or blog post about the World Vision policy switch, or personal story of a former student at my Alma Mater, that all reveal just how broken, and sometimes hateful, my larger church body has become. This Lenten season for me has involved a lot of grieving, and crying out to God for answers – for hope that this supposed “body of Christ “can be saved.

Those are hard prayers to pray, hard questions to ask. But, I’m glad to have gone through this Lenten season, because I have heard an answer. The great thing about Lent is that is ends. And it ends with resurrection. And that is a powerful answer to questions about brokenness and death.


Broken Body, Resurrection Hope
Forty day journey nears its end,

time for reflection and remorse,

a time our hearts are meant to lend

attention to a change of course.

 

And yet… these weeks have witnessed pain

not of repentance, but of pride

that marks white robes, already stained

by ripping wounds caused from inside.

 

This Church, this body, meant to be

united by one Spirit’s breath,

appears, to tear-soaked eyes, to me,

to be a witness more to death.

 

Death of love, and death of grace,

unable to extend a hand

when its own member’s wounded face

asks faithfulness to understand.

 

“I can still love the God you serve

but disagree with you about

five scriptures that expose a nerve,

about the sanctity of doubt.”

 

But wounded hands pull back in fists,

defensive, curled around the pain,

with closed-off ears, both sides insist

“I am the right, you are to blame.”

 

Self-righteousness that tears and rends

a body meant to live as one.

Contracted muscles can’t extend

to open arms as did the Son.

 

For soon we’ll see another form

broken, hanging on a tree

Good Friday calls us near to mourn

the sacrifice on Calvary.

 

Oh, may that memory impart

return to humble brokenness,

give healing balm to bleeding heart,

heal lips that struggle to confess.

 

We all are broken, every one,

and all imperfect in our faith.

By the one Truth we’re all undone.

There is no credit we can take.

 

And brokenness like this is blessed

if it can cause us to return

to love, where arguments aren’t stressed

for we all know grace is unearned.

 

And, despite the bloody trail

the evidence of Church undone,

we can still rise in joy to hail

the Whole and Resurrected One.

 

He is our hope, alive and true

that broken body can still mend.

A dying Church can still renew

leave fear behind and rise again.

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Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

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