A piece of art will always reflect its creator in some way. The glory of the created is an echo of the Glory of the Creator. The Scriptures use the metaphor of a potter to describe God as creator, a master craftsman, and the truths are rich and beautiful. But there is an interesting pottery metaphor that keeps surfacing in Christian writing these days, Kintsugi pottery. This form of art begins with pottery, but it is broken, whether by accident or by a controlled break. And then it is mended. Not only is the broken pot mended, it is mended with gold. The beauty and value of the restored pot becomes greater than a pot that was never broken.
There is something true in Kintsugi Art that rises to the surface again and again... in all our best stories and experiences. When we see it, we know it. It is the story of redemption that God weaves through all of His story... beauty out of ashes... healing the broken... restoring the ruined... transformation out of disruption.
It wasn't too long ago that I saw a figurine that was designed to look like a Kintsugi pot, and it captured my attention. From her heart, the center outward, distinct lines fractured the whole. And yet... golden seams mended the fissures, stitching the fragments together. We were born with hearts that were created for God and created to reflect God, but our hearts were broken from the beginning as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3). We needed mending, restoration, redemption.
So I set up my paints and brushes, I drew some line figures, and chose some Scriptures that spoke of our need and our redemption. I layered the colors, the marks, the words... of humanity, brokenness, repentance, glory, and redemption... to reflect this image of brokenness and beauty that is so true of God's children, so true of me. We come to the Triune God, to the cross where Jesus' life, death, and resurrection provide our redemption... and our mending begins. First our relationship with God is restored as our sin is covered by Jesus' sacrifice. And then God leads us on a lifelong journey of healing, as old patterns of sin, of managing life on our own, are replaced with dependence and trust.
During Lent I am reminded again of all the ways we have been broken, fragmented, separated from God and others by our sin and the sins of others.
The invitation to fix our attention upon the empty cross, to engage repentance and renewal, to see the beauty and glory of God's love is so deeply hopeful. And once again, I am humbled and grateful that it is precisely at the place of our weakness, the place of our need, the place of our wounds and our pain that God pours out his golden grace and His glory shimmers.