As the legend is told, a Japanese shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, broke his favorite tea bowl. He did not want to discard it. So he sent it away to China for repairs. Upon its return, the shogun was very disappointed. The pieces were held together by metal staples which was a common method of repair at the time. The bowl was usable, but it did not retain the beauty of the original.
Yoshimasa asked a local craftsman if he could find a solution that would repair the bowl and maintain its beauty. That craftsman tried a new technique which repaired every crack with a lacquer resin mixed with gold. Upon its return, the shogun was impressed. The bowl, now with streaks of gold, told its story and had a beauty all its own. By the 17th Century, Kintsugi, or “golden joinery,” had become an art form that is still very popular today. The idea that beauty is possible even in the midst of brokenness is intriguing.
When Jesus rose from the grave, the Scriptures tell us that he retained the scars from the crucifixion. That always bothered me. If Jesus was resurrected and restored, why should he retain the painful reminders of crucifixion? Perhaps, I was being short-sighted. Rather than seeing the scars as suffering and pain, perhaps I should see them as sacrifice and love.
The same is for us. We all have our own brokenness. Many of those cracks were self-inflicted. Others came at no fault of our own. When God picks up the pieces, he puts us back together with gold. The scars, our memories, and lessons learned remain. Still, our new life in Christ is stronger and more beautiful than before.
The new year is always an opportunity to reflect on the past. I hope that we can move beyond our regrets and the previous pain. Discover the new beauty that God has in store for you in 2023.
Grace & Peace,