Take, Bless, Break, Give

by Fr. Mark Kurowski | MySpiritualAdvisor2019

#TakeBlessBreakGive is the podcast for June 23, 2019, The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Dave Brubeck’s hit “Take Five” is informative to why we should be attentive to the rhythm of Christ. Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Luke9 #DaveBrubeck #Take #Bless #Break #Give #FiveFourTime #Mission #RealPressence #Manna #LambofGod

Full Text of Podcast, Open Here (For Our Deaf and H/H Brethren)

For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Fr. Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday,   6/23/2019  the Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord.

Please pause this audio and read Luke 9:11-17.

         Only July 1, 1959, the Dave Brubeck Quartet issued a 45 rpm single song release that was an unlikely hit. It, in fact, is the bestselling jazz single song release of all time, having sold over a million copies.[1] It was re-released in 1962, it was so popular. You may note that this July 1, will be the 60 year anniversary of its release.

         The song is called “Take Five” and it is the product of Brubeck’s boredom of spending time on the road. He decided to experiment with different time signatures. So, he decided to do a 5/4 time signature, which means that there are five beats to a measure and a quarter note gets one beat. It has the rhythm like this (demonstrate the rhythm).  “Take Five” has a clever melody as well as bass line (Sing the melody). Once you get it you cannot get it out of your head.

         The song from our hymnody that I get mixed up with it is “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness”, which is another rare 5/4 piece of music.  Yet, because these are unusual time signatures and rhythms, it makes the point especially well, that we humans are moved by rhythms.

         Other rhythms are our daily routine, the routine we use to get in the car. In fact, my dog will not jump into the car unless we follow the same routine and rhythm. I often recommend that we use the same prayer space and same routine to pray. Same room, same chair, same introductory rhythm to prayer, all of it creates a way of calming the spirit and preparing us for whatever it is that we have to do.

         It is the same with our liturgy. We have the four fold pattern, we are taken from the world, we are blessed, we are broken by the readings and the homily, we then are given the Lord to eat as we prepare to be sent out into the world. There are four parts of our liturgy: Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Concluding Rites.  These mirror the “four-fold action of Christ” which is put on display in the Gospel of Luke today for the feast of Corpus Christi. Christ, takes, blesses, breaks, and gives.

         When Jesus feeds the Five Thousand here, the Four Thousand later, meets with the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, and more places in the Scriptures, he does this same four-fold pattern of take, bless, break, give.  In Mass every Sunday, he takes us from the world. We come here intentionally. We gather as his people. He takes our offering of ourselves, our offering of our tithes, and the offering of common bread and wine. All of these are taken from God’s giving.

         The Lord then blesses us. Be it through encountering the smiles and hugs with one another, the readings of Scripture where God speaks to us, the prayers, definitely the reception of his body in the Eucharist, we are blessed over and over in the Mass. In the Eucharist in particular, he blesses the bread and wine we bring to make it his Body and Blood.

         We are broken as he is broken. We are broken maybe by realizing a sin we had committed. We are broken by the conviction that we should be serving more. Christ is literally broken during the Mass during the fracture at the Lamb of God in remembrance of his death on the Cross. It is at that moment that we are broken in preparation to receive him.

         Finally, we are given and we give. The most evident way we are given at Mass is in reception of the Eucharist when Jesus gives his Body and Blood to us. Yet, the action of given points to a larger idea behind the Body and Blood given to us and that is that we are given by Christ to the world.  Christianity is not just about how we are taken, we are blessed, we are broken, and we are given.  It is about how, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ that enters into our body through the Eucharist is meant to move us into mission. We are to take the message to others as the apostles did on their mission just before this passage in Luke. We are to take others with us into prayer, to church, and to Christ. We are to be a blessing to others and bless others. In our speech, in our business dealings, etc., we are to be a blessing on behalf of Jesus Christ.  We are to break the false notions of God in others, break the systems of injustice and oppression, and to break through with the Gospel. We are then to give. This is not just offerings in the offering plate. It is a giving of ourselves to others in mission for Jesus Christ. We are to go where others won’t, address issues that no one wants to address, meet people no one else wants to meet. We are to truly give.

         The reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians shows us that this same four-fold action was handed down by Jesus to him and the other apostles, who have carried it forward to this day.  This message is not just a nice story that was told 2,000 years ago. It is a message for this day. We are to take, bless, break, and give. Repeat it after me, take, bless, break, give. It is a rhythm that should permeate all of our lives.

         On this Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, I am supposed to remind you that the elements of the Eucharist really are the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. I have spoken about that often [here]. I think it is important to also remember that this rhythm of life, take, bless, break, give, is essential to who we are. It should be a pattern for everything we do. It is part of the mission of the twelve when they are sent out to heal and preach.

         It reminds us of the Manna in the desert, but it is more. The Manna that Moses called down from heaven was for a season to get the Hebrew people through. This pattern is a constant reminder that we draw our life from Jesus in the Eucharist, the Manna from Heaven that never ends. The rhythm of the pattern is a constant reminder of the sustenance we get from Jesus in the Eucharist, in prayer, in Scripture, and in how we live our lives. We should pay close attention to the pattern of life and think of how it can be a pattern for our daily living.

         Before we go, there was a conversation between Dave Brubeck and another band member about what they should call the song with the 5/4 time signature. The composer said, “We should call it ‘Take Five’ because it is in five beats and everyone says that, ‘Take Five.’” Dave Brubeck said, “No one says that.” The composer said, “Everyone says that.” 1 million copies plus later and we know that everyone says it.

         It is the same with take, bless, break, give. We may think we never do it. We always do it. Let’s be intentional about it in every area of our lives. Amen.

This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated.  My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2019.

[1] Wikipedia and http://www.davebrubeckjazz.com/Take-Five-&-Time-Out

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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.

Mark Kurowski, M.Div.

Executive Director

Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian