Kintsukuroi – beauty from broken

Kintsukuroi-photoI learned something new today! Our church staff was invited to breakfast at the assisted living and retirement community in town. We were the honored guests as it is Pastor Appreciation Month. We enjoyed a tasty breakfast and were able to see some of our church family who are part of that retirement community.

The speaker for the morning shared about the Japanese practice of Kintsukuroi. I had never heard of it before, but loved the idea behind it. Rather than simply throw out a broken piece of pottery, the Japanese use gold or silver to repair it and find even greater beauty in the piece.

Our speaker made the connection that God is in that same business. We are all broken and flawed, yet God is able to bring beauty out of that brokenness. Sometimes the beauty is greater because of the brokenness. Instead of simply discarding a broken life, God is about restoration and allowing our cracks to reflect His glory.

Promise of Glee or Glory

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Youth Ministry Summit at Cincinnati Christian University.  It was a good day of hearing from the keynote speaker, Doug Fields, and attending some workshops on practical things in youth ministry.

There were at least two highlights of the day.  The first was Doug’s chapel message in the morning.  He referenced some of the TV shows we love, primarily the mega-popular show “Glee.”  Now, I am not a fan of the show.  A lot of students love the music, but as Doug pointed out, what really keeps the viewer is the story line.  The script puts certain characters in the starring role and whatever issues they are dealing with are somewhat resolved in the 60 minutes the show airs.

Doug then made the connection that we want exactly what we see on “Glee.”  Our script places us as the star and our issues are resolved in a short period of time.  Unfortunately, we don’t write the script; God does.  What happens to some is that when the story God is writing doesn’t place us in the starring role, we walk away.  When we face difficult scenes in life, drama and conflict we weren’t expecting or the story doesn’t put the spotlight on us, we walk away from a relationship with God.

Then he made this cool statement:  God didn’t promise us Glee; He promised us Glory.  Jesus said we would face trials and difficulties, but He has overcome the world.  At the end of the story, God wins and we can share in His glory.  We just need to trust Him as the writer of the story.

It was a good reminder that we need to hear on occasion.

The second highlight was simply this – we are doing some things right!  I have a great team of volunteers in our student ministry and some of what was said at the conference is what we are trying to do.  We aren’t doing things perfectly, but I think we are on the right track in some areas.  Sometimes I have gone to conferences and come away feeling we were doing nothing right.  While we can continue to get better at what we do, it was good to hear that in certain ways, we are on target.