My new pastor blogs. Just as you see my words pop up each morning (if you signed up for that), I read his thoughts as I eat breakfast and review my email. Today he looked at his family’s Christmas village, battered in their move last week, and looked at himself, and pointed out how God’s grace serves as the hot-glue (and epoxy!) for our imperfect selves. That like the little houses in the village, he and we still shine with the light of Christ, repairs notwithstanding.
Those cracks pulled other images in front of me. I started thinking of kintsugi work,
of broken things repaired so that the cracks are visible. Become the most salient part of the piece, in fact. Some kintsugi I’ve seen were inherently beautiful before, but others I would have called plain before the damage… and the repair. The repair is what makes those works compelling.
I thought of my pastor’s move-battered village houses, and wondered whether their glued walls now leaked light, casting a greater glow than they were able to when they were whole.
I remembered grieving Leonard Cohen fans quoting Anthem: “There is a crack in everything. / That’s how the light gets in.” But I also think cracks are how the light gets out.
The Bible abounds with the imperfect people God picks out to rep for him. Gideon, Jonah, Paul…who in their right mind chooses their most energetic opponent to be their witness to the widest world? Over and over Scripture points out that when God uses clearly flawed tools everyone around says, “Ohhh. That work is God’s work, and God’s alone. There’s no way that person could have accomplished that outcome.” Kintsugi: their importance lies in their brokenness, and their beauty in the repairs.
I see this in my own life. By seventeen, I had shattered. Fragments everywhere. But as I stayed living, God handed me back my fragments, added shining glue to every seam, waited patiently while the new joins set firmly and were ready for the next piece. For reasons obscure to me–I can see every crack–when others look at me, they see wholeness and impervious beauty, like porcelain. I know this because I routinely unshutter the light inside–and all the cracks blaze with God’s grace. And every time I hear, “Ohhh. I thought you weren’t like me. But now I see.”
I think that we who follow Christ’s Way are all kintsugi. That we are meant to not only show off our cracks, but to point to the One who makes us whole. And beautiful.
My heartfelt thanks to the band All Sons & Daughters for their song “Brokenness Aside.”