Yesterday our church, helped and encouraged by a visiting team of students from Coleraine university, hosted its annual “MCC Arts Festival” within the town on Maynooth, Co. Kildare, where part of the town square was set up with tables and chairs so that any one passing by could sit, have a free cuppa, some homemade buns, and a chat. There were also several children’s activities such as face painting, fun with a giant Jenga set, and more. A concert last night was preceded by a “splash-and-hot-dog” event for teenagers the previous evening.
Alongside all activity on the square was an art exhibition which included art pieces of all shapes and sizes using different mediums from rolled up paper, to discarded bits of coloured glass, to wood carvings, to needle work, and more, and then also some paintings done in a variety of mediums such as oil and watercolour paint, and even peat from the bog.
The theme for this year was “Discarded Treasures,” and as a theme was brought into this morning’s excellent sermon, based on 2 Corinthians chapter 4 when we were reminded of the treasure of God which can be found within each of us, no matter what we, or others, might look like on the outside. We were also reminded of the passage from Jeremiah 18 where Jeremiah is told to go down to the potter’s house and to watch the Potter forming the clay into treasure, according to His best design for it.
When I was thinking about the theme for this year and what I might do, what I might write, I decided to concentrate on the art of Kintsugi: (explanation at the end) Hence the featured photo of one of my art work contributions: and then the following pondering prayer which I wrote.
A Kintsugi prayer… (a treasuring of the discarded… )
Lord I’m older now.
not “old old,” just older,
and like a piece of Kintsugi pottery,
I am learning not to hide and discard my scars,
but rather treasure them.
Will you help me?
I know that there are some seasons, now passed,
which my mind would prefer to discard,
the reality is that it is those same seasons, those same events,
with many wounds, thankfully, now healed
which make up the me I am today..
Thankfully Lord, I mostly accept that you treasure the me I am,
the all of me I am,
including all those same healed wounds and scars.
Forgive me then when I too quickly judge others by their scars.
Forgive me when I value them by my standards,
rather than accepting them by theirs.
Forgive me when I am too quick to discard those
who are as treasures to you.
And you did value the scarred folk all the time Lord didn’t you?
The lady caught in adultery…
Or the leaper…
Or the woman bleeding for years on end…
Or the crippled man whose friends broke through the roof of a house,
just to get to you…
And the man so small of stature,
that he had to climb a tree just to get a glimpse of you…
And therein lies the kernel of your grace Lord.
You took those discarded by society, and you “saw” them, and you treasured them.
You saw them not as imperfect, and therefore of no use,
but rather as children made in your own image,
albeit sometimes gone astray,
who simply needed to be accepted as they were,
so that you could then change them for your better.
Will you help me then Lord to likewise be kind with the discarded by our society
and to treasure them?
Will you help me also to have regard for the healing of my own wounded soul?
Help me to treasure the history, and the reality of who I am,
rather than try to hide it or disguise it.
Shine your Light into the open spaces in my soul Lord,
and then bring your blood bought weaving of tender,
’till I am whole once more in you.
please help me to be gentle and patient
with any other discarded treasures I may meet this day,
I ask, in Jesus name,
Alison Zoë King 2017 ( copy write- please ask if you want to share)
Yours in Him,
Kintsugi is the general concept of highlighting or emphasizing imperfections, visualizing mends and seams with an additive, often gold, to an area to celebrate or focus on the whole rather than as absence or missing pieces: an embracing of the flawed or imperfect, and where healing taking place in the very spot where light shines through the wounds. As a philosophy Kintsugi treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise or discard.