The Piece of You that Feels Like Broken Pottery is Actually Extremely Valuable
A couple of weeks ago an interesting item crossed my newsfeed on Facebook about the 500-year-old Japanese tradition of repairing cracked and chipped pottery with gold. Ancient craftsmen found a way of repairing pieces of cracked or chipped pottery by filling them in with gold, making them usable once more.
Kintsukuroi: “to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.
The post was accompanied by a stunning photo of some pottery with a crack filled with gold that looked absolutely beautiful. “Pretty impressive,” I thought to myself. The thought-provoking message was about finding beauty and worth in the face of damage or brokenness. I liked it.
Let the light in
Then just recently I visited my friend Nicky in London and went to her church on Sunday morning. The preacher, Phil, began his sermon quoting from a Leonard Cohen song which included the lines “There’s a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in!” and he began to talk about how God’s power works best in broken lives.
That, of course, immediately got my attention, and it brought to mind the Japanese tradition, but from a completely different angle:
Do you have a cracked cup? Don’t try to seal it on your own, let God’s light shine in!
For sure, that picture of the gold filled pottery I had seen was absolutely stunning, it really was. And it looked like it was still good to go for its original purpose. But on the other hand, I’m more than sure that a cup with an unfilled crack is pretty useless for its original intended purpose. I mean, how much tea can you sip if most of it is sitting in your lap? Yep. Pretty useless – even if there were fifty beautiful lights shining through it.
But that song line had really grabbed my attention, so what else could it mean?
As I sat and pondered, I thought – what if God wanted you to enter a new season – a season of increase, but you couldn’t receive it because your cup was too small? Or what if you needed some cracks to appear to allow for expansion? What if you had outgrown or accomplished your original purpose, and God had a new assignment for you? What if those difficulties you’re currently experiencing are cracks that are letting God’s light shine in for a reason? Because light shows where there’s room for expansion, right? (God has a light and He definitely knows how to use it!)
Is it time to move on?
Or, what if your cup really needs to be a mug?
Sometimes the right thing to do is get rid of the old thing and make way for something new – not pretty it up and give it a place of honor.
A couple of Bible passages urge us to forget the things of the past and make way for the new – (Isaiah 43 vs 18 + 19) and (2 Corinthians 5 v 17). Then there’s the sad story of Lot’s wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt because instead of turning her attention to escaping the destruction, she turned to look back (Genesis 19 v 26).
Our world is in turmoil at the moment – we are in transition for something new, something different. At the moment we don’t know what that is or what it’s going to look like, but it can be a scary place. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about times in the past and think “things just seemed so uncomplicated then!” and I wish we could turn the clocks back.
But how helpful is that? Really? What if the new thing turns out to be that we simply need to turn our lives to God and let Him shine His light to show us where the cracks and chips are? After all, He has a light and He knows how to use it! What if we allow Him to show us what to do about our cracks?
Your “gold” doesn’t cut it
If we insist on holding onto our lives and filling in the cracks and gaps ourselves with our own ‘gold’, we may end up with a beautiful looking life that was fit for purpose but is now out of kilter with the rest of the God’s plan.
“For I know the plans I have for You”, declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29 v 11).
Why not offer up your life today and let God’s light shine in to show where the cracks are? You really will be a vessel fit for the Master’s use.