In Church recently, I heard for the first time about the Japanese practice of Kintsugi.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of taking broken pieces of pottery with a lacquer that has been combined with a precious metal such as gold or silver. Items repaired through the method of Kintsugi are often considered more beautiful and valuable than they were before being broken. Sounds simple enough.
One theory on the history of kintsugi is that it may have originated when Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a damaged Chinese tea bowl back to China for repairs in the late 15th century. When it was returned, repaired with ugly metal staples, it prompted Japanese craftsmen to look for a more aesthetic means of repair. Collectors became so enamored with the new art that some were accused of deliberately smashing valuable pottery so it could be repaired with the gold seams of kintsugi. (from Wikipedia article on Kintsugi)
This method of repairing pottery is not just another tool in the arsenal of artists. There is a deep and powerful philosophy that is an integral part of the art of Kintsugi.
First and foremost is that the fixed piece of broken pottery is now considered more valuable and beautiful than before. The repair that was done is now considered a part of the history of the object rather than something to hide. In fact, Kintsugi not only repairs the object but very literally highlights the damage. Additionally, this method encourages people to not throw away an object once it has become broken, but rather provides a reason to keep it. Rather than being rejected and thrown away for good, the flaws and imperfections of the broken piece are embraced and used to create a work of beauty and of great worth.
I would venture to say that everyone one of us has felt broken and crushed at one point or another in our lives. Some of you who are reading this post may feel that way now. Perhaps we have been the victims of abuse of some sort or other terrible actions by others. Our souls crushed, our heart betrayed. Or perhaps we are the ones who have committed some terrible sin, afflicted by an awful addition, and deeply hurt those we love.
We all break for many reasons either as victims or perpetrators and sometimes both, but we all have broken at one point or another in our lives. Broken and shattered. Hearts crushed and betrayed. Words and actions we wished we could take back but never can.
But the power of forgiveness through Christ is a lot like Kintsugi. The power of healing from His Grace is incredible. And because of that power of healing and forgiveness, there is hope.
Through the miracle of kinstsugi in Christ, a broken and shattered person can know that they won’t be rejected or thrown away, even though they feel like they will be and even though they might personally feel like they should be. They still can feel loved, and valued.
Our flaws and imperfections are swallowed up in Christ and used to create a person that is now more valuable and beautiful than they ever were before. The repair that is done is now is a part of the history of that person. We rejoice in the beauty of that forgiven and new person precisely because we know of the pain that they have been through and their personal brokenness that they have overcome through Christ.
I am amazed and uplifted, when I hear stories of addicts, homeless and other broken men and women, who have found a way through Christ to become a new creature in him. Of people who have had their lives destroyed through the sins of others, rise above it and find strength in Christ. We find hope and strength as we hear their stories. See the repair that has been done. Hope and strength for a way out of our own brokenness.
But we need to hear those stories. We need to see that it works. We need to see that no matter how deep and dark the hole, how hellish the road, how crushed the soul….no matter how ugly the circumstance…the soul can rise. Through the power of Christ, it can overcome all.
This blog will be devoted to sharing stories of redemption. Too many places out there are focused on sharing how evil others are. This blog will be about what is good out there. About the power to overcome evil, whether we have committed that evil, or if it has been done to us. Through the power of Christ we can overcome anything, no matter how broken our souls may feel, and still be of great worth and value to Him, to our loved ones, and to those around us.