an exchange about the interconnections between commerce and spirituality.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Unexpected Opening of the Heart; an Easter Sermon

(originally posted March 30th, 2008)


The bread of the heart
is dense, chewy, durable….
survival for our desert wanderings,
good food for the long journey.

And how do the people who live in the desert
bake bread?
on hot stones of course,
baked in the fire of life’s harsh beauty.
Today still modern bedouins
stir a stiff mixture of grain
and precious, oh so precious water
onto hot rocks burning red
with the kind of passion that is borne from
being inflamed, bursting with desire
and yet still holding the center.

Oh this crackling strong desert bread,
rimmed with rock ash,
we will eat it this morning, you and I,
with our beloveds
remembering again
that death is no failure,
only the narrow gate
through which all us weary, lovely wanderers
will pass only to discover it is merely love’s greatest portal.


Do you think Jesus was thinking this, just this…
when he held up stone baked bread, adoring it, treating food as God
and seeing with shaman’s eye
his passionate, brutal death.
Already his collaborators of the heart
reflect their longing, knowing what they don’t know.
He has to love them.
And he is breaking their hearts.

So with astonishing personal significance,
he picks up the bread, tenderly “This is my body but it is our hearts, our pain, our love”
then he breaks it,
does he rip it with ferocious intention
like a bandage from a wound,
with angry strength,
I think so, maybe..

or does he do it delicately, slowly separating the two halves
as lovers do with such delicious poignancy after making love,
oh I think so, maybe…

But break it
he does
And he eats, his friends eat.
What they don’t finish is given to the birds.

You can not trap love, neither can you bind it with lack.
TO share bread,
we must break it
And because we are messy humans,
sometimes to open the heart,
it must first be broken.

THe terrible polarity of his cross appears to him
and suffer he will as humans do with
that great pull in the chest,
from which all our greatest choices are wrought,
Oh we flail about,
seeking truth in extremity,
until and at last we hang,
dripping blood and consciousness,
raw and fertile
finally still enough…
the spirits know we are ready
to be an offering.
And so they eat with us.

Until and at last
all is forgiven,
every last molecule of every betrayal, every lie, every monstrous piteous awful thing, every thing done ever in the vast infinite
explodes with quantum shifts.
The great stone guarding the tomb of our hearts
moves, just simply moves.
and all energy releases, just breathes
lets go.

Can we who stand here this easter morning
in the thin warming of spring air and light
at the threshold of this river, this season, this life together
can we look around in each others longing faces
and let this love which will find a way
burst, redeeming every last awful thing we have ever said and done to each other,
all of us here in this specific shining moment
and then weep and laugh and love around this fire,
and for once, just this once
and then know that at last
the terrible, necessary stone
has been removed from our pounding, hopeful hearts

Let us bake and brake and bake and break
good bread on these stone of hearts
and simply eat it.
Because we are, after all, collaborators
in this great communion
of the heart.

Kathleen C. Mandeville

Easter 2008

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