His body broken for you

Not so long back I spent a week with fellow leaders on an Arrow Leadership course. Three residentials in, and with a commitment to open-heartedness and a safe environment, we’ve been sharing places in our hearts that few others see. One morning after we had collectively unburdened our leadership pain, passing the tissues from one to the other, one of the co-ordinators shared a prophetic dream she’d had the night before which led to her to proclaim over each one of us and over our pain: “His body broken for you.”

It was a deeply moving moment, and it’s a proclamation that I keep coming back to and centring my prayers around. The more I reflect on it, the more I understand how it answers a need within me that little else has been able to touch.

The cross of Christ stares full-faced at the reality of sin, suffering, and shame, and there is a great relief in having all that properly named and acknowledged.

The broken body of Christ is the only thing that could ever fully answer our pain, the only response that fully addresses it: without minimising it, offering thin or false comfort, or moving on too quick.

As a card-carrying Pentecostal I am well aware of our tendency to leap forward to resurrection, skipping the spaces of defeat, hopelessness, shame, disappointment, and death. Yes, Sunday is coming, but we’re often not there yet. It’s the already-but-not-yet of our current human experience: disappointed but ever-hopeful, partially healed but still bleeding out. In this season of my life I remain quietly confident, but triumphalism is untenable.

While his blood poured out for me is as significant as it has always been, it’s the broken body that I keep coming back to.

Only Christ’s shoulders can carry my sin. Only his body can absorb my pain.

This Easter past I attended a Tenebrae service on Maundy Thursday. I thought I’d packed enough tissues along with my grief and shame, but even my ample supply was insufficient. As we journeyed through the shadows the image that stayed with me is of the space between Christ’s shoulders as he hung on the cross.

Salvador Dali's Christ of Saint John of the Cross
Christ of Saint John of the Cross, Salvador Dali, 1951

Here I can rest.

Here I can place my sin, my shame, my suffering – not as a one-off unloading so that now I may walk away clean and unburdened. Instead, this is my ongoing experience, my new location and place of rest.

Here my unruly heart finds a home, one that can truly carry it, as is.

I started writing this from a bedside vigil during my mother’s last days. It was a difficult but precious space as I offered my embodied presence, my playlists, and my one-sided jokes. I continued to marvel at the human body even at the limits of life; the dying body is truly a remarkable thing.

But it was a costly experience, and now that she has passed, I find myself depleted and weary. Sad, yes, but more than anything right now I am weary. It’s a tiredness that even a week of afternoon naps hasn’t shifted.

That weariness I too take to Christ’s shoulders on the cross.

I am trying to resist the wondering of whether I am grieving “right,” or “best.”

Instead, I take what is, what I have, and I sit with it. I bring my sorrows and my joys, my self-sabotage and unhealthy coping strategies, my sense of relief and my shame at naming that – knowing that it is my Saviour who carries it all with him on the cross, for my redemption.


3 thoughts on “His body broken for you

  1. Helen Beamish says:

    Dear Maja

    I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your Mum- these journeys are painful, and sacred – painfully sacred!

    Thanks for sharing your vulnerability – and that beautiful image of “the space between His shoulders”. I did not previously know the image – but am totally blown away by the image of it, now you have pointed it out… Yes, there is room for resting there…

    As a reciprocal act of “sharing” rest places, I offer this youtube clip – from my first SGM retreat at Teschmakers (when I was 8 months pregnant with Meg, so that’s 31+ years ago) – and it has stayed with me as a “resting Place” reminder through these years. I wept , I danced (cumbersomely), I even dared to make it an offering at the Communion Service one night I was so awed by the Invitation in it … whether you listen or not, may you know every moment of every day, that you are always “welcome” just as you are… (45) Come as You Are. Paul Gurr – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0cbQS55RTM


    Helen Beamish


  2. Ruth Olsen says:

    Hi Maja. Thank you for sharing from your heart. It ministers to others too – that’s how the Lord works, bringing beauty from ashes. May the Lord wrap you in his love as you take time in green pastures doing what he leads you to do – resting in trusting him. Allow longer time as needed. Every blessing to you, Dave, your children and extended family – this journey is fertile ground. Hugs. RuthO


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