by Ken Rolheiser
Broken but beautifully mended

In “Beautifully Broken”, from Lori Penner’s column Don’t Mind the Mess, she shares that most of us have been broken a time or two in our lives, and we have the scars to prove it. She goes on to share, “In Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold… which adds to their beauty. Consider this when you feel broken.” 

In a beautiful application of this metaphor to our lives Penner suggests: “I pictured this beautiful vase, with veins of gold running all over it. If this vase represented a full life, met with personal risks and challenges and the failures that inevitably follow, the gold would dominate all the other colours on the vase.”

What a marvelous vessel to return to the Potter after our lives are complete! Gold and silver are products of God, designed to be intrinsically valuable and beautiful. The streets of heaven are pictured as “pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” (Revelation 21:21).

Gold is a marvelous substance. “A single ounce can spread over a 100 sq. ft. area. Silver is the best conductor of heat and electricity. It reflects light better than any other metal and when fully refined it looks like a mirror.” (Joel Bauman)

Dr. Michael L. Williams describes a fascinating scene where a Jeweler cuts a chunk of gold about an inch square from a small sheet of gold. He fires up a torch and melts it into a liquid which begins to glow and appear somewhat transparent. As he continues to heat it, the dross (impurities) are burned off and fly away as sparks.

St Paul describes our very lives as temples of God built on a foundation which is Jesus Christ. On this foundation we “may build in gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw but each person’s handiwork will be shown for what it is.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

When choosing to build our spiritual structure laid on the foundation of Jesus Christ, we might do well to recall the story of the three little pigs and their houses built of straw, sticks and bricks. What materials shall be choose?

The social distancing of recent weeks has given us an opportunity to make our relationship with God more personal. Sunday morning finds us with God in our homes. Now is the time to build, to study with the Master so we can be the disciples we are meant to be.

In Alessia Cara’s song “No scars to your beautiful” she says we have a light shining within that we can share with others. She says there are no scars to our beautiful. As Christians, “There's a hope that's waiting for [us] in the dark.”

If our brokenness is mended with the gold of God’s forgiveness, then we are truly beautiful. Our scars are gone. We have these consoling words from Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

In her conclusion to “Beautifully Broken” Lori Penner says, “Be proud of your journey! Be proud of your scars and your cracks.” And she reminds us of Leonard Cohen’s words: “There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in. To be broken doesn’t make you a failure. It simply means you had the courage to live.”

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