My wife loves to shop. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as most women love this expensive pastime. She, however, has a penchant for something other than designer clothes, stylish shoes, or fashionable jewelry. My wife loves Polish Pottery.
We frequent a store called Renditions in the old historic town of Weston, Missouri. I’m not sure if my wife is hooked on the pottery as much as she is on the warmth and friendliness of the owner (Marilyn) and her daughter (Christine). Nevertheless, I may need to take out a second mortgage to help pay for all the colorful cups, ornate plates, and unique glasses that Renditions sells.
We are such good customers that Marilyn asked us to help her sell merchandise at the annual Polish Pottery festival held this past summer. We had a lot of fun and sold a record number of pottery. I was tasked with selling special pieces of Polish Pottery called, Kintsugi.
Kintsugi (which means “golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a special mixture of lacquer and powdered gold. The seams of gold shimmering from the cracks in the ceramic give each piece a unique look. Heavily influenced by the Japanese philosophy of “waste-not, want-not”, this repair method highlights the tiny breaks and fractures in each piece as opposed to disguising them or discarding them totally. As a result, Kintsugi actually makes the repaired piece even stronger (and some say more beautiful) than the original.
In this world, broken things are often neglected and thrown out. Things we no longer want, we discard without a second thought. Unfortunately, this also includes people. When relationships break down, the tendency is to walk away and find someone new rather than work at restoring the damaged relationship. The result is a world full of broken hearts, broken friendships, broken marriages, broken families, and broken lives.
Psychiatric and Psychologist’s couches are full of broken people.
But God can take broken lives and (like Kintsugi) remake them into someone better, someone stronger than the original, and someone that He can use for His glory.
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
There’s a reason that God allows all of us to travel down the road of brokenness. It’s so that when we are at the verge of despair, we can freely turn to Him and he will bestow upon us the Grace to endure. It’s God’s grace that is the powdered gold that mends our broken spirit.
When Jesus began His Galilean Ministry, he travelled back to His hometown of Nazareth. As was the custom of the day, He went into the local synagogue on the Sabbath and, as the visiting Rabbi, was asked to read from Scripture. He was handed the scroll which was opened to the prophet Isaiah. Jesus found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Isaiah 61: 1-2)
By citing Isaiah, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah.
His primary mission was to teach and preach the gospel to the poor. Here the passage refers to the poor in spirit who are in need of a Savior. This includes all non-believers who are spiritually dead.
Jesus also healed the brokenhearted, referring to those who were discouraged because of their plight in life. He breaks us so that He can fix us even better than before.
He proclaimed liberty to the captives. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were in captivity and God freed them. In this verse, captivity refers to mankind’s slavery and bondage to sin.
Jesus gave sight to the blind, a reference to His miraculous works and proof of His divinity. Mankind is blind to the need for a Savior.
He set at liberty the oppressed. This refers to Israel, who was oppressed both physically and spiritually because of the lack of dependence on the Lord.
Finally, Jesus proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord. Here Jesus is cancelling past spiritual debt and offering a new beginning to anyone who responds (in faith alone) to His plan of salvation.
It’s important to notice what Jesus did next. He stopped reading in mid-sentence and rolled up the scroll. He did not continue because the next verse: “And the day of vengeance of our God,” would not be fulfilled until His second coming at the end of the age.
It is Jesus, and the transforming power of His righteousness within us, that takes what has been broken in each of us and makes us BETTER than we were before. Only when we surrender to Christ can we be restored and transformed.