Finding Hope in Broken Things

Message by Jason Storbakken

Bulletin 4.8.18

Luke 24:12-35

Sermon notes:

MLK was martyred on 4/4/68 and Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred on 4/9/45. White supremacy sought to crush Dr. King’s dream, but the dream is bigger than King. Nazis tried to snuff out Bonhoeffer’s convictions, but he understood the meaning of costly discipleship.

MLK and Bonhoeffer were both committed to non-violent resistance. They wrestled with its implications. Toward the end of their lives they both took more militant stances. They shifted in their views.

“But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?…It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” – MLK (1968), The Other America

Mary from Magdala went to the tomb where Jesus’ broken body laid dead, but she encountered a gardener. Well, he wasn’t actually a gardener, but he was unrecognizable to Mary – Mary who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair, Mary who “chose the good thing.”

Years ago Jesus met Mary in her brokenness. Scripture says she was a prostitute, possessed by 7 demons, but she met Jesus and was set free. Along with Martha and Lazarus, they were something different than the apostles and disciples – they were his friends. Lazarus, a leper, laid dead in his own tomb – dead so long that there was a deep stink – was raised by Jesus the Resurrector.

Jesus spent time with them. One time, Mary broke an alabaster box filled with precious spikenard oil and poured it all over Jesus. Judas, the treacherous treasurer, raised a raucous and said, “We could’ve sold this and given the money to the poor.” Jesus said, “Leave her alone. All will speak well of Mary because of what she’s done for me.”

The box had to be broken for the oil to be released. Oil is a symbol of the Ru’ach, the Spirit. There must be brokenness, or at least recognition of brokenness for the power of Spirit to be lavished upon us.

This Mary, who knew Jesus so intimately, didn’t recognize Jesus at the tomb. She meets angels in the tomb and then encounters a gardener outside the tomb. She says, “Sir, have you taken the body. If you did, give it to me and I’ll take care of it.” Jesus says, “Mary.” And in being known she realizes that the gardener is Jesus.

That same day, there are two disciples on the road to Emmaus, 7 miles from Jesus. They are essentially escaping the city where the leader of their movement, Jesus, was executed. They are talking about all the events that recently transpired, and Jesus appears to them, but they are unable to recognize him. Jesus asks, “What are you talking about?” They are surprised that this person doesn’t know about what has happened. They fill this stranger in.

Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in word and deed, was sentenced to death and executed by our chief priests and leaders. We hoped he was the promised one who would restore the Davidic dynasty, who would unshackled the chains placed on us by Rome, but he’s now dead. That’s not all. This morning, on the third day of his death, some women from our group say that he has overcome death.

Jesus then said let me share with you a word. And he revealed to them promises and prophesies that spoke to the power and purpose of the Messiah. And then as they approached the village of Emmaus Jesus walked ahead as if he was departing them. And they pleaded, Stay with us. Night will soon come.

So they went inside and while at the table Jesus took the bread and broke it and gave it to them. And then, in the breaking of the bread, they could see – truly see. Jesus had been with them the whole time, but only now in this act of breaking did something open up within them to see the Savior with them. And as soon as they recognized him, he vanished. They looked at each other and said, Weren’t our hearts burning when he spoke to us?! And right then they departed their village to return to Jerusalem to meet with the other disciples. They didn’t care that night had fallen, or that the enemy would also have them destroyed. Their hearts burned. They were filled with the hope and promise of the risen Christ. When they met the other disciples they told these two that Peter had also met the Risen Christ. And the two then told the disciples how they recognized Christ in the breaking of bread.

Just as seeds are sewn in broken soil, and clouds must break to give rain, and seeds must break for sprouts to emerge, and grapes must be crushed to produce new wine so too is there opportunity for us to encounter the Risen One in the tender and vulnerable and broken parts of our lives.

It is not that suffering itself is redemptive, but through right and healthy choices we are able to redeem the act of suffering.

Even in our breaking, let us deepen and grow and flourish in this life.

MLK was martyred on 4/4/68 and Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred on 4/9/45. White supremacy sought to crush Dr. King’s dream, but the dream is bigger than King. Nazis tried to snuff out Bonhoeffer’s convictions, but he understood the meaning of costly discipleship.

MLK and Bonhoeffer were both committed to non-violent resistance. They wrestled with its implications. Toward the end of their lives they both took more militant stances. They shifted in their views.

“But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?…It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” – MLK (1968), The Other America

Mary from Magdala went to the tomb where Jesus’ broken body laid dead, but she encountered a gardener. Well, he wasn’t actually a gardener, but he was unrecognizable to Mary – Mary who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair, Mary who “chose the good thing.”

Years ago Jesus met Mary in her brokenness. Scripture says she was a prostitute, possessed by 7 demons, but she met Jesus and was set free. Along with Martha and Lazarus, they were something different than the apostles and disciples – they were his friends. Lazarus, a leper, laid dead in his own tomb – dead so long that there was a deep stink – was raised by Jesus the Resurrector.

Jesus spent time with them. One time, Mary broke an alabaster box filled with precious spikenard oil and poured it all over Jesus. Judas, the treacherous treasurer, raised a raucous and said, “We could’ve sold this and given the money to the poor.” Jesus said, “Leave her alone. All will speak well of Mary because of what she’s done for me.”

The box had to be broken for the oil to be released. Oil is a symbol of the Ru’ach, the Spirit. There must be brokenness, or at least recognition of brokenness for the power of Spirit to be lavished upon us.

This Mary, who knew Jesus so intimately, didn’t recognize Jesus at the tomb. She meets angels in the tomb and then encounters a gardener outside the tomb. She says, “Sir, have you taken the body. If you did, give it to me and I’ll take care of it.” Jesus says, “Mary.” And in being known she realizes that the gardener is Jesus.

That same day, there are two disciples on the road to Emmaus, 7 miles from Jesus. They are essentially escaping the city where the leader of their movement, Jesus, was executed. They are talking about all the events that recently transpired, and Jesus appears to them, but they are unable to recognize him. Jesus asks, “What are you talking about?” They are surprised that this person doesn’t know about what has happened. They fill this stranger in.

Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in word and deed, was sentenced to death and executed by our chief priests and leaders. We hoped he was the promised one who would restore the Davidic dynasty, who would unshackled the chains placed on us by Rome, but he’s now dead. That’s not all. This morning, on the third day of his death, some women from our group say that he has overcome death.

Jesus then said let me share with you a word. And he revealed to them promises and prophesies that spoke to the power and purpose of the Messiah. And then as they approached the village of Emmaus Jesus walked ahead as if he was departing them. And they pleaded, Stay with us. Night will soon come.

So they went inside and while at the table Jesus took the bread and broke it and gave it to them. And then, in the breaking of the bread, they could see – truly see. Jesus had been with them the whole time, but only now in this act of breaking did something open up within them to see the Savior with them. And as soon as they recognized him, he vanished. They looked at each other and said, Weren’t our hearts burning when he spoke to us?! And right then they departed their village to return to Jerusalem to meet with the other disciples. They didn’t care that night had fallen, or that the enemy would also have them destroyed. Their hearts burned. They were filled with the hope and promise of the risen Christ. When they met the other disciples they told these two that Peter had also met the Risen Christ. And the two then told the disciples how they recognized Christ in the breaking of bread.

Just as seeds are sewn in broken soil, and clouds must break to give rain, and seeds must break for sprouts to emerge, and grapes must be crushed to produce new wine so too is there opportunity for us to encounter the Risen One in the tender and vulnerable and broken parts of our lives.

It is not that suffering itself is redemptive, but through right and healthy choices we are able to redeem the act of suffering.

Even in our breaking, let us deepen and grow and flourish in this life.