Living in the Brokenness


For many this has been a week to rejoice in our democratic process in selecting a new president-elect to lead this country for the next four years.

For many this has been a week of shock and astonishment bringing tears and a sense of fear.

I believe one thing is clear from this past week, which has not changed. We are a broken people. We are a broken country. We are a broken world. This election has proven how divided as a nation we are and I don’t think it would have mattered who won, that division and brokenness would have still been present. The brokenness can be found in our sins we have knowledge of and those sins of omission. It is the reality of humanity living in a world where the Kingdom of God has not come fully into view.

The news has revealed some awful hate rhetoric that has occurred this past week. Children in middle school have chanted in a lunch room to build a wall. In another school, they formed a wall of bodies prohibiting other students to get to class. These two examples are from our own state. Graffiti has appeared across the country that spews hate and division. Muslim women and our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community have stories of being assaulted in one way or another this past week.

In the midst of all of this we get a gospel text that is assigned to us from the Revised Common Lectionary. A text that speaks of an apocalyptic time that makes us wonder if some of the signs Jesus is speaking about are represented today. Luke writes of the temple being destroyed, which Luke himself would have already witnessed before he wrote his gospel. In Luke’s gospel Jesus is not speaking to a specific time though. Every generation has seen similar signs in their lifetime. In the twenty first century alone there has been no exceptions. From the planes crashing into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 to the tsunami in Indonesia in December 2004. Don’t forget Hurricane Katrina as well. These all point to the brokenness that surrounds us and the signs Jesus points to speak to the brokenness in the world in which he walked 2000 years ago. In this brokenness, we suffer. Shawn Copeland states, “Suffering always means pain, disruption, separation, and incompleteness. It can render us powerless and mute, push us to the borders of hope and despair.”

In this suffering, we find God. Jesus’ concern for the disciples this morning is that they are putting their faith in the establishment of the temple. A large and grand building that distracts from what is truly important. It distracts from the truth. It distracts from God. Jesus calls them to turn away from that which distracts and turn towards God. We have been distracted this week and must not forget that it is God we turn in the midst of brokenness. It is God the protects and saves us. We are encouraged Jesus’ word since not a hair of our head will perish. By our endurance we will gain our souls.

In the meantime, what are we to do? It does not matter what side of the aisle we find ourselves on because first and foremost, we are Christians. We are to continue to live a life that Jesus Christ has called us to and one in which he has set an example. We are to reach out in love to our brothers and sisters and stand by their sides when they are attacked and are made to feel like they are less. We are to speak up for those that cannot speak for themselves. We are to ensure that the poor and hungry get fed and that the naked get clothed. Jesus reached out to a population that could not or did not know how to raise their voices. As Christians, we continue in Jesus’ walk today. While we may be living in a world that is broken, let us be reminded that it is still full of God’s grace and love.

Let us pray,

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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