I’m a cracked pot. Not a crackpot, although some might disagree. A cracked pot. Normally, cracked pots are dumped. Discarded as useless. Trashed as garbage.
That was me – cracked and purposeless. Of course, being me, I tried to fix myself. I patched up my cracks as best I could. Hid my pride. Covered my anger. Disguised my resentment.
It didn’t work.
Ineffectively patching cracks has been practiced for thousands of years. In biblical times, pottery merchants lost income if their products cracked during production. Dishonest merchants patched the cracks with dyed wax, then fired and glazed the pottery.
Savvy customers learned how to protect against being cheated. They would hold the pottery up to the sun. Bright sunlight revealed the flaws and customers would move on to purchase products without wax: sine cera. Does that term sound familiar? It’s the origin of our English word sincere.
I’ve heard this practice used to illustrate the Christian’s salvation. The light of the Son shines in our weakness and completes us. But I recently learned of another practice that seems to be an even better illustration.The 15th century Japanese practice of kintsugi mixes gold dust with lacquer or resin to repair cracks. Instead of hiding the cracks, Kintsugi celebrates the repair, redeeming the pottery and actually increases its value. This image reminds me of I Peter 1:18-19:
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
Christians have not been “repaired” with the equivalent of temporary wax. And even gold cannot compare to the precious blood of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus does not repair us at all. He makes us brand new…and more valuable than ever before.
Wax, gold, or something better? What will you choose?