Twice last night on the news the phrase ‘At Breaking Point’ was used.
It was used to describe our National Health Service. There were pictures of crowded wards, of patients in intensive care; there were interviews with staff and patients. We saw extreme pressure on material resources, a service ‘at breaking point’.
Pictures from Washington DC showed groups of Trump supporters scaling metal barricades and storming their way into the Capitol building. American democracy was said to be ‘at breaking point’.
‘At breaking point’ could equally describe schools, small businesses forced to shut again, churches who cannot meet to serve and worship… all ‘at breaking point’
But it isn’t just about organisations and institutions it is about people. We are seeing good people, staff who are used to working in a crisis ‘at breaking point’ physically, mentally and emotionally. We are seeing individuals confined to their homes, ‘at breaking point’ through loneliness, insecurity, uncertainty, or the pressure of being with the same people all of the time.
This morning I read and mused on Abraham and Isaac. This strange, ancient story is of a man who has waited to have a son for many years. And now the God who had promised and provided the son was asking him to sacrifice him… Abraham was certainly ‘at breaking point’…
I’m musing on the example of Jesus who faced breaking point just before his crucifixion. In Jesus Christ Superstar the song that Jesus sings in the Garden of Gethsemane ends:
God thy will is hard
But you hold every card
I will drink your cup of poison
Nail me to your cross and break me
Bleed me, beat me
Kill me, take me now
Before I change my mind.
And the Christian message is always described in narrative that involves brokenness; but that brokenness, darkness and death always passes and leads to hope, life and resurrection.