Scrolling through an idea-sharing site recently, my eye caught on what looked like pottery lined with gold. “Oooh! Shiny object!” my ADD-brain said to me. So I took a look; and thus I learned a little bit about the ancient Japanese art of ‘kintsugi’ or ‘kintsukuroi’ – literally, to repair with gold.
Various stories of the art amalgam into this: a vessel that has been broken ought not to be discarded but should be repaired, and by including gold (or other metallic) dust into the resin, the joinery now looks quite snazzy. The piece is then thought to be even more beautiful to the eye, but also to the meaning, as something with a history becomes more precious.
We can consider ourselves as the vessel or pottery. We can see in our lives people whose influences have helped to mould us, to form us, to direct our shape and purpose. Above all, however, Isaiah 64.8 reminds us “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
As the work of God, however, we can see that we have all, at some time, been broken. Our brokenness may have been accidental or intentional; it may have been by a stranger or by a loved one. It may be that we have been shattered, or cracked, or chipped; whatever the cause or the effect, the brokenness is there.
As the work of God, it is up to us then to return to our maker in order to seek the repair. Repair is not always easy, it is not always painless, but it is always possible. We are challenged to bring our brokenness to God, and let the Holy Spirit fill our cracks and mend our fractures. By allowing our maker to tend us once again, we will be put back together, re-joined into wholeness, re-emergence into service.
As with pottery, our repair becomes part of us; it is not something to disguise, but something that adds to our narrative, glinting the beauty of repair and restoration. Perhaps by embracing our own imperfections, the world may see that Christians are not immune to the brokenness of the world; rather that we are choosing, through faith, to celebrate our own improvement through repair.
Broken, repaired, or somewhere in between – we are all the ongoing work of God’s hands.