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That’s a Japanese word for “golden joinery.” [1] According to Wikipedia, “[It] is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum”. [2]

According to legends, a Shogun or a Japanese military dictator in the 15th century had a precious tea bowl repaired. But the repair got botched. “When it was returned, repaired with ugly metal staples, it may have prompted Japanese craftsmen to look for a more aesthetic means of repair.” [3] Thus, we now have beautifully repaired potteries with gold or silver cracks. 

Kintsugi reflects a philosophy that, instead of disguising a breakage, it highlights the brokenness of the vessel. In repairing the broken pottery as such, Kintsugi shows that there is beauty in brokenness.

Spiritually speaking, brokenness is beautiful in God’s eyes.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17) [4]
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18)
What does it mean to be broken? In his “Broken or Triumphant?” article for “The Gospel Coalition,” Dr. Dane Ortlund wrote 
Are Christians to be broken? If by broken we mean downcast, long-faced, perpetually discouraged, hand-wringing, abject, ever grieving over sins—no. If by broken we mean contrite, low before the Lord, poignantly aware of personal weakness, self-divesting, able to laugh at ourselves, of sober judgment, sensitive to the depths of sin within us—yes. [5]
To be broken means to be aware of who we are before the presence of a holy God. We see our weaknesses and our sinfulness. We accept our limitations. But we also appreciate His sustaining grace. We acknowledge that we can do nothing without Him. In short, to be broken is to humble ourselves before Him.

The apostle Paul had a “thorn in the flesh,” probably an eye problem. When he prayed for its removal, God refused to grant his prayer. 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, emphasis added.)
Like gold in the cracks of a broken pot, God’s grace makes us whole. May we realize our brokenness before our Lord and relish His all-sufficient grace for us!

Let us not deny our brokenness. Let us declare it!

Brothers and sisters, we are God’s kintsugi!

[1] “Kintsugi,” Wikipedia, accessed January 14, 2015.

[2]  Ibid. Emphasis added.

[3] Ibid.

[4] All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.

[5] Dane Ortlund (9 July 2010), “Broken or Triumphant?” The Gospel Coalition, retrieved from Emphasis added.


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