“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
When I was 17 years old, I went on a mission trip to South Dakota. Seeking a memorial from that trip, I purchased a ceramic chalice. Little did I know how significant this pottery would become in my ministry, family and life.
20 years later, I would use this cup to hold the blood of Christ (symbolic of course) as I proclaimed the forgiveness of our sins.
At some point during those 20 years of many relocations and excursions and course corrections in life, a crack surfaced in the chalice. However, the crack is only noticeable on the inside. From the outside of the cup, this small hairline crack is not perceptible. To the one serving communion though, it is pronounced.
Therefore, each Sunday, as I serve communion I am intentional to always turn this cup so that this small crack will stare me in the face (Waypointers if you have ever noticed how I only serve the juice from this chalice…this is why). This is to not-so-subtly remind me that as awesome as it may look getting to serve communion from this chalice on the outside, on the inside I know I am a cracked vessel in need of Christ’s grace.
This past Sunday, I was startlingly reminded of this truth as I preached on forgiveness and the hardening of our hearts…honestly, it wasn’t so much preaching as talking to myself out loud as 113 other people eavesdropped.
At one point I shared about spending the week investing in my boys by equipping them to become men with confident humility. On the drive to our final dinner, however, a woman ran a red light blocking the intersection and giving me the single finger salute as I laid into my horn, yelled and shot her devil eyes.
Afraid I was pastoring up this story, my wife turned to Jack and whispered, “Did Dad really do that?” to which Jack quickly and audibly replied, “Oh Yes!”
So, then I invited my wife up to serve communion for the 1st time shoulder to shoulder with me. She and I were very apparent of all the cracks (not just that incidental one) in my life. Yet despite-no wait-precisely because of those flaws we could celebrate the grace of Christ’s blood that filled those cracks.
As the line passed by, suddenly Lindsay and I were confronted with our four children, who were all hungry to take communion for the first time (from their parents, no less, who had just yelled at them to get dressed quicker, to stop the whining, to pick up their toys, to hurry up, to shape up, to…). From those same cracked lips came the promise of their eternal life in Christ.
As I looked each of my children in their eyes proclaiming, “This is Christ’s blood shed for the forgiveness of your sins,” I felt my heart of stone melt.
Just as Jack dipped his enormous hunk of bread (his hunger was not only metaphorical), and I proclaimed Christ’s forgiveness (even for ratting out his father’s anger), half of his soggy bread/juice::body/blood combo slipped from his hand, and with stealthiness my spare hand caught his mess midair, smiled at him, and subtly discarded it before anyone noticed his mistake…for a cracked father knows how to shine Christ’s grace to his cracked son.
So what cracks are facing you? How might Christ’s grace fill those cracks?