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The center is found at the edge

The center is found at the edge

Over and over again, Jesus went to the edge. Immediately after his baptism, he was driven to the edge – into the wilderness, where he spent forty days and nights. While at the edge, he rediscovered the center – which for him was God.

And thereafter, throughout his three year ministry, Jesus sought out people who were likewise driven to the edge; and in many cases were cast over the edge – tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, the blind and the lame, people who were poor. He sought them out – and brought them into the center; into the beloved community.

What makes the Eucharist so important and powerful for me is that it brings me to the edge – not just of Jesus’ life, but of my life as well. The breaking of the bread not only symbolizes Jesus being broken, but that we are all broken. And then we are invited to receive the bread – to take in the gift of life – which is symbolic, yes, but much more than symbol. It is life; new life. It gives us that center, which is rooted – mysteriously and abundantly, in Christ.

The temptation (and Lent is a lot about temptations) is to protect ourselves from the edge. To seal ourselves off. To silo ourselves in. This temptation can easily become an illusion – that the center is something we can create or control. Much of the world lives with this illusion – and indeed, much of the world tries to sell the silo (and there are an almost infinite number of styles and options) as the center.

The center is a gift. Which we receive when we dare to journey to the edge.

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