Have you ever tried to map your thoughts?
Sometimes they flow like a stream of logic, at other times, they’re more a grasshopper on steroids.
The other day, I experienced what appeared to be the latter. I was thinking about Christmas gifts, jumped to Japanese art, leaped to Jesus, sprang to others, and then came back to Christmas.
For a reason the Spirit may or may not be aware of, when I was mentally checking my gift list, I remembered this multi-hued blue bowl I once saw. What was most striking about it was the thin arteries of gold that ran through it.
It was a piece of kintsugi, a pottery technique that goes back to the 15th century. In legend, it began with the repair of a shogun’s favorite vase, but it developed into an art form and a philosophy.
In kintsugi, pieces of pottery are fused back together with molten gold. The artist sees beauty in the brokenness of an object.
Rather than trying to hide the imperfections, the gold highlights them and makes the piece stronger because of the broken places.
I imagined the kintsugi artist applying a precious metal to shards of pottery and suddenly, the bearded face of the Zen monk-like artisan became that of Jesus.
It was a higher form of kintsugi that Jesus practiced. Rather than vases and bowls, He dealt in in the brokenness of life.
Manhandled and condemned by a righteous crowd, fearing a painful stoning death, that woman caught in adultery probably saw her life in shattered pieces.
And the Gadarene demoniacs living in tombs — feared and hated by all. The paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, immobile for 38 years and totally alone. Or the Roman centurion, desperate at the thought of losing his daughter.
For each of these, life had imploded, leaving behind only fragments of memory and hope. But Jesus made them whole again, fusing the broken pieces of their lives with the golden bonds of love, making them stronger and even more beautiful than before.
Then I understood that we might all be called to practice kintsugi, to see the beauty in the jagged fractures of others and do the little things, of which we are all capable, to help them towards healing and wholeness.
This kintsugi is forgiveness, acceptance, appreciation, understanding, and oftentimes, just prayer or a silent presence.
And now we’re back at Christmas, because any one of those would make a great gift.