All these pieces….

I want to share with you a story about this beautiful blue bowl that sits in my study. As you can see it has been broken and then mended with gold glue. it is actually a piece of pottery known as Kintsugi and there is a wonderful legend from Japan where this art form comes from.

Once there was an Emperor who loved the beautiful pots and vases made by craftsman in his country. He had a wonderful collection that he loved to show off to visitors. This year there were to be many visitors as his son was to be invested as crown prince of the Empire he had created. For the occasion, the Emperor had a beautiful new bowl made which took pride of place in one of this cabinets.

The day before the investiture however there was a tragedy. The beautiful bowl was found broken in several pieces. No-one knew how it had happened, but the Emperor was devastated. He showed the broken pieces to his son and together they mourned its loss.

Later that day the courtiers came in distress to the Emperor. The broken pieces of the pot had disappeared along with the royal crown that the prince was to be given the following day. Moreover, the prince had locked himself in his rooms. Smoke was seen coming from the chimney of his apartment, but he would admit no-one.

The day of the investiture dawned. Early in the morning the courtiers went to wake the king with the news that the pot and the crown had both been returned. The Emperor hurried to the cabinet and sure enough there was the pot. It had been beautifully mended with pure gold holding the broken pieces together. Next to it the crown that was to be laid on his son’s head was slimmer than before, but more beautiful in its simplicity.

The investiture went ahead and as the son reached up to take the crown the Emperor could see the marks and scars on his son’s hands. The Emperor knew then that the kingdom had a most worthy prince.

In Kintsugi what has been broken is not discarded but rather the pieces are recrafted into something more beautiful, something that tells its own unique story and history.  Surely that is a lesson for us today. Many are finding that this period of global pandemic has given us a chance to really see how much is broken in our world.  Our selfishness, our endless pursuit of money and possessions, our driven lifestyles and pollution of our beautiful planet-the list could go on. At the same time we have seen so much that is good, the sacrifices made by so many on the front line, the sense of community, looking after our neighbours, spending time with our loved ones, breaking out of the cycle of materialism and pressure. Giving the planet time to breathe and recover from the harm we have inflicted on it and seeing again just how beautiful it can be.

 In the hands of a skilful potter what has been broken can be mended. May we offer up our brokenness to the wounded hands of Christ. His love, like gold, will gather these shattered pieces and remake them. All that is good will be kept and used as by his grace he moulds each one of us afresh into something beautiful to behold.

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