We all have broken places in our lives. It’s a simple fact of human existence since the Fall. Somewhere along the course of our journey we’ve fallen, gotten beat up and dirty in the mess of life. After experiencing such a time we need to pick up the pieces and put ourselves back together. We are like a broken cup, unable to fulfill our purpose.
I was recently reading the Magnolia journal put out by Chip and Joanna Gaines. The issue was about wholeness, and they highlighted an incredibly interesting pottery technique I had never heard of. In Japan, there is a method of pottery repair called kintsugi. Kintsugi literally means “golden joining.” When a piece of ceramic, especially a piece from a tea set, was broken, the pieces are joined back together with a lacquer mixed with powdered gold. Rather than trying to hide the breakage, the repair is celebrated as part of the history of the piece.
What an incredible metaphor for the Sacrament of Reconciliation! When we try to put ourselves back together after a time of suffering or trail, we usually long for things to “return to normal.” We struggle to put the pieces perfectly back in their spaces. But just like that cup pieced back together, water leaks through the cracks. The pieces no longer fit perfectly back together. They need something to fill in the new spaces.
Now in today’s day and age, that broken cup could be replaced with super glue. But isn’t the image of kintsugi more moving? When we come to God in Reconciliation, He takes those broken pieces of our lives and cradles them in His hands.
“Yet, LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:7)
He restores our brokenness with gold, with grace. But we have to let Him do the work. When we turn over our brokenness to God, He returns it to us whole. And that is worth more than gold.
Copyright 2019 Kate Taliaferro