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Topics: Spirituality | Opinion

This Holy Tuesday, there is no doubt that we are broken

The question is, will we be broken into love?


This piece is the third in a series of reflections about Lent and Holy Week.

God’s wholeness is made known to us through brokenness, as God’s heart is broken on the cross. 

In this season of Easter, we are invited to celebrate and live God’s way of love and wholeness. We will do that—perhaps especially this year—by choosing to accept and face our brokenness.

Parker J. Palmer, in his essay The Politics of the Brokenhearted, writes about how God’s heart was broken for the sake of humankind, “broken open into a love that Christ’s followers are called to emulate.”

Broken into love is a good way to describe the way of Easter.

There’s no doubt that we are broken, all of us as individuals and together as a church and society. The question is, will we be broken into love?

Our brokenness is laid bare in this time of COVID-19. Some are broken by illness, some by grief over what the virus has taken from us, especially our loved ones. All of us are broken by the fear of what it might yet take.

More on Broadview: How I grapple with sacrifice during Lent and COVID-19

Of course, most of us have known times of being broken by loneliness, depression or fear. Usually, though, such times are transient. We descend into the valley, but we come out the other side. Today our fears and anxieties are like the persistent background beeping of a heart monitor, piercing our thoughts in every hour of every day. We may have been able to drown out that sound with distractions in our so-called normal lives. But these are not normal times, and distractions are dissolving. Will there come an end to this valley? Will we ever ascend on the far side?

There comes a time in the valley when we must choose how we will be broken. Will we be broken by fear or, like God, broken into love?

Broken by fear, we hoard supplies for ourselves. Broken into love, we look to how we can meet another’s need. 

Broken by fear, we deny our vulnerability. “I’m fine,” we say when others offer help. Broken into love, we express our deep gratitude for those who offer to share our burdens. 

Broken by fear, we seek leaders who tell us they can protect us. Broken into love, we seek leaders who inspire compassion. 

Broken by fear, we obsess over what we have. Broken into love, we ask why so many have less.

Broken by fear, we lament the fact that all of our church buildings are closed. Broken into love, we ask how we can show Christ’s love to the community around us, just as we are.

Broken by fear, we live in isolation. Broken into love, we join in the fellowship and communion of the Holy Spirit guiding us through the valley, making way for the miraculous possibilities of Easter.

Broadview is an award-winning progressive Christian magazine, featuring stories about spirituality, justice and ethical living. For more of our content, subscribe to the magazine today.

Mardi Tindal is a former moderator of The United Church of Canada (2009-2012) and Circle of Trust facilitator with the Center for Courage & Renewal.


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  • says:

    Thanks Mardi. Beautiful words and an invitation to choice our brokenness. Hope you are well these days - body and soul.

    "Everything is broken" - Bob Dylan



  • says:

    We are born again as new creations. Sons and daughters of The Lord. The "old man is dead!"
    Put on the new man, the christ like one! Christ need not be broken again, but we must learn to " Die" to the old that new fruit can be manifest!

  • says:

    The author speaks of 'our" brokenness. I believe it was Jesus who was broken on the cross not we. Jesus said no one takes my life from me I give it freely out of love. That's the nature of God's freedom to love in Jesus brokeness. You tend to speak about brokenness with the language of therapeutic psychology. The gospel speaks of the brokeness of sin that the love of Christ liberates us from at the cross.