MY LIFE MUST BE CHRIST´S BROKEN BREAD
Music: Dick Krommenhoek
Lyrics: Albert Orsborn
In 1947, Albert Orsborn was in Berlin on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (3,4 April) and then in Holland for Easter Day and Easter Monday (6,7 April). He later wrote:
"During my first visit to Berlin, when I met our dear officers in council in the war-damaged temple, I was burdened with a sense of my own inadequacy to match the occasion… I cried to God to help me, in my own spirit, and to let His Spirit work within us all, to bring us together, to bridge what seemed to be, in all reason, an impossible gulf between our respective conditions of living… God revealed to me that not only that day, but always, we have no hope of being a blessing to other souls unless our lives become a part of the Saviour´s sacramental consecration… Before I left Berlin, this song had begun to form itself in my mind. As I travelled toward Holland, along the straight but monotonous Autobahn, line by line the song was given to me, the last verse coming in the early morning following my return home."
The verses were published in The War Cry, 3 May 1947, with the title, ´Christ´s Broken Bread´.(Companion to the Song Book, page 118)
WHY AND WHAT
The teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) are his instructions on how his followers are to behave and to act and what their attitude should be – even to the extent of loving their enemies! As the climax of the Sermon on the Mount, he tells the parable of the wise and foolish builders.
It is often suggested that the message of this parable is that our lives must be built on Jesus. It is, of course, very true that Jesus ever and always should be the rock on which our lives are built. But since this parable follows straight after the conclusion of the most powerful and detailed teachings recorded in the Bible, Jesus is telling his followers here that he wants them to do what he taught them. That is the rock Jesus is referring to in the parable of the builders. We are to build our lives on living out the teachings of Jesus!
The question, therefore, is not ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ but rather ‘What would Jesus want me to do?’ The true value of what Jesus models and teaches is determined by the measure in which his followers ‘do’ his teachings and live by them. Jesus must be ‘done’!
Jesus must be ‘done’
We see Jesus repeating this same message over and over again. After washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:14 &15), Jesus twice says ‘Do this’. Jesus concludes the parable of the Good Samaritan by saying ‘Go and do likewise’ (Luke 10:25-27). In fact, in the end the essence of the teachings of Jesus all boil down to serving and to showing love to whoever crosses our path – the ultimate challenge being to love our enemies!
By doing the teachings of Jesus, we fulfil God´s purpose for our lives in living the greatest commandment: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27).
A Christ follower, therefore, never need wonder what his reason and purpose for living is.
To the heart of our calling
Doing the teachings of Jesus in love for God and our neighbour, draws us into God’s holy presence and leads us to the heart of our calling. The everyday reality of this, is profoundly illustrated in the account of the two men on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).
The two men on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) are being joined by Jesus, whom they do not recognize.Luke says in 24:16 that ‘They were kept from recognizing him’. How that could be is not mentioned; we have to guess for ourselves. We could say that the living Jesus did not coincide with their state of mind. You won’t see what you do not expect to be able to see.
At the table the bread is taken, blessed, broken and shared. The words which are used here for ‘taking, blessing, breaking and sharing’ are exactly the same as those used at the Last Supper! (Luke 22:19) And then these two men recognize Jesus. Not by his face. Not by his hands. We often draw that conclusion, but the text does not say that. Jesus is recognized by the ‘taking, blessing, breaking and sharing’ of the bread. They recognize Jesus by what he does!
The experience and the heart of Holy Communion is not dependent on bread and wine, but emerges in the encounter with ‘my neighbour’ for whom I stop, to step into his world, in the name and in the love of Jesus. Accepting responsibility for him, his pain, his loneliness, his questions, his hopes and his need – doing that for which I have been sanctified – set apart.In blessing, sharing and giving to the ‘least of his brethren’ I do this to Jesus himself, whose holy presence I encounter in the eyes of the one to whom I stretch out my hand. (Matthew 25:40) It is there and then I am drawn into God’s holiness.In that Holy Communion I experience second, third, even multiple blessings of holiness and all I can humbly utter is: ‘Here am I. Send me!’ (Isaiah 6:8)
We do not need a building or ceremonies or ordained priests. All we need is our dedication to Christ, our love for our neighbour, our hands and our feet. The Salvation Army cathedral is the street, and our tools can be a soup bus, bread queue, guitar club, brass band, a home league, or a computer club.
The Salvationists’ prayer ‘to be like Jesus’ finds its utmost fulfilment in ‘sacramental living’ – demonstrating Christ’s life and love through doing his teachings.We are challenged to be the ‘third’ person, who tells the stories of God and who breaks and shares so that ´My life is Christ´s broken bread´.
This song is musically, choral-technically and music style-wise very demanding.Only well-balanced, skilled choirs and choir leaders should take this on.
The climax of the song is in the beautiful and moving words: ´Who dies with thee, O word divine, shall rise and live again´. I have done my utmost to put this phrase to music so that this wonderful truth comes home in the most powerful possible way. This passage starts in bar 31. The ´Who dies with Thee´ in bar 44 needs to be as pronounced as possible, followed by a very powerful ´Shall rise´. In bar 49 the tenors need to be careful not to scream these high notes, but to keep them well in balance with the rest of the choir.
The ´rubato con moto´ indication in verse 2 is important to keep the music alive. This passage needs a touch of stringendo.
Our Salvation Army close-harmony vocal music style needs a choir balance with more altos than sopranos and more basses than tenors. A choir, for example, with 10 sopranos, should ideally have 12 altos, 5 tenors and 8 basses. Only choirs that approach this kind of balance can produce the richness of the harmony as intended.Though the song is meant to be performed ´a cappella´, a very quiet background piano support may be needed.
Unknown – partial - performance.
(Not placed by Dick Krommenhoek as indicated on YouTube)
MY LIFE MUST BE CHRIST´S BROKEN BREAD
SATB – a capella