In the early 1500’s a Japanese shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimosa sent a treasured teapot to China for repairs. The Chinese craftsman repaired the tea kettle with staples and returned it to Yoshimosa. As Yohismosa looked at the once beautiful teapot all he could see were the ugly staples marring its beauty.
Apparently the craftman that repaired the little teapot was not pleased with the result. He was inspired to come up with a repair plan that involved mixing gold or silver dust with the lacquer that was normally used, thus, creating a totally different and beautiful look.
Most of us would think that Yoshimosa could have replaced the little teapot, but you have to understand the importance of the teapot. It was irreplaceable.
This once beautiful teapot was the integral part of a time honored Japanese tradition, “The Tea Ceremony,” which began in the sixteenth century. The little teapot reflected the age and glamour of the Chinese civilization and it would be used by each generation of Yoshimosa’s family.
After some time, the craftsman sent Yoshimosa a request to repair the unsightly staples with a technique known as Kintsugi. Yoshimosa sent the teapot back to China. The master craftsman looked at the little teapot, carefully inspecting it for cracks and scratches. As he turned the teapot in his hands he saw the unsightly staples that held its broken pieces together. He sees every imperfection, every flaw, and every scar that marred the beauty of the little vessel.
Its broken pieces where once scattered and carefully gathered together. Mended and whole, yet the scars from its past were clearly visible. Like that little teapot we are broken and scattered, we are wounded. We hurt. Sometimes we are sad and lonely. We feel loss. We face rejection. Sometimes we are unaware that our vessel is cracked. Unaware that we are scarred from the trials of this life. Often we feel inadequate and unsuitable for the Master’s use. But, we are chosen vessels held carefully in the hand of the Master Craftsman. He sees every flaw, every imperfection, every need, every want. Most importantly, He sees every deep wound that has left us scarred.
Everything we have been through shapes us, and mold us. He is the potter and we are the clay. God has placed His treasure in earthly vessels. His Spirit dwells within us and absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love. Not our past, not our future, not even our present situations can separate us from the love God has for us. Allow God’s Spirit to gather the broken pieces of your life. You do not have to feel empty. You do not have to feel alone. God will send His Holy Spirit to comfort you, to guide you, to help you. He wants to see you mended and whole.
Sometimes all we can see is the ugliness of our scars, but God sees beauty in the broken. We must come to Him with a broken and contrite heart. Our imperfections are perfected by the hands of the Master Craftsman. God does not draw away from us because of imperfections. We draw back from seeking His presence. Thinking we are unsuitable for the Master’s use.
Remember the little teapot, its beauty marred by the unsightly staples? Yoshimosa sent the teapot back to the craftsman and he used gold lacquer to fill in the cracks and scratches. He even covered the staples with gold lacquer. Now the craftsman waited patiently to see the results. He wanted the very best for the little teapot. He knew how important it was to Yoshimosa’s family. The teapot was returned to Yoshimosa’s family where it would be used for generations. Yoshimosa looked at the little teapot. The ugliness of the staples and every crack was covered in gold. The little teapot was more beautiful than it was before it was ever broken. Out of brokenness comes great beauty. The little vessel was now suitable for the Master’s use.
We are like the little teapot in the hand of the Master Craftsman. We must allow God to pick up the broken pieces of our lives and make us whole. We are not forsaken. We will never be forgotten. We are never alone. Through our hurts, our failures, and our weaknesses, we are shaped by the Master’s hand. Being perfected and molded. Restored, made whole.
Revs. Michael and Darlene Hartwell are pastors of Verdunville Church of God and members of the Logan Ministerial Association.