A common theme throughout all of scripture is God working to make us new, despite the brokenness of humanity and creation. God is always working to bring about salvation. One of the best modern illustrations I’ve heard of this concept is the Japanese art of kintsugi–translated in English to mean “golden joinery.”
Kintsugi artists will take broken pieces of plates, bowls, and other items and repair them. Instead of hidings the cracks or smoothing them over, they fuse the broken pieces together with gold. The philosophy behind kintsugi is that even though brokenness is part of an object’s past, it can still yield a beautiful end result.
This artistic idea is a powerful theological example that Christians can use to understand how God treats us. We are all broken in one way or another. But God doesn’t throw us away. Instead, he is faithful in working to repair and refine us to purity and completion. Through having a relationship with Christ, we can experience God’s powerful renewal. God picks up all our broken pieces and makes us into something beautiful and redeemed.
This redemptive promise is found all throughout scripture. Here are a few bible verses illustrating God’s work of repairing and “joinery”…
- Isaiah 43:19- “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
- Isaiah 65:17- “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.”
- John 10:10- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
- Ephesians 4:24- “Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
- Revelation 21:5- “Behold, I am making all things new.”
We also saw a great example of this on Sunday with the timeless story of Dorcas. She would use scraps of cloth to sew together new garments for the world’s most vulnerable people–abandoned children and widowed women who had no one to care for them. The early apostles admired Dorcas’ commitment to righteousness and she even had the honor of being included in the legacy of church history with the Book of Acts. Dorcas took broken pieces of cloth and made new things–just like how God does with us!
And in addition to Dorcas’ clothing ministry, the lowly manger in our nativity scenes also points to God’s use of ordinary things. Mangers weren’t glamorous things. They were placed in stinky places to feed animals. Mangers often reminded people of their own poverty–having to care for animals and even living under oppressive Roman rule.
But God used the simple, broken manger to bring about Jesus. God always makes things new and takes the broken parts of life to turn them into something beautiful.