In his wonderful book Art + Faith: A Theology of Making, renowned artist Makoto Fujimura describes the ancient Japanese art form of Kintsugi. In it, the artist takes broken pottery (originally tea ware) and pieces the shards back together with lacquer, threading gold into the cracks. “Kintsugi,” Fujimura explains, “does not just ‘fix’ or repair a broken vessel; rather, the technique makes the broken pottery even more beautiful than the original.” Kintsugi, first implemented centuries ago when a warlord’s favorite cup was destroyed and then beautifully restored, became art that’s highly prized and desired.
Isaiah describes God artfully enacting this kind of restoration with the world. Though we’re broken by our rebellion and shattered by our selfishness, God promises to “create new heavens and a new earth” (65:17). He plans not merely to repair the old world but to make it entirely new, to take our ruin and fashion a world shimmering with fresh beauty. This new creation will be so stunning that “past troubles will be forgotten” and “former things will not be remembered” (vv. 16–17). With this new creation, God won’t scramble to cover our mistakes but rather will unleash His creative energy—energy where ugly things become beautiful and dead things breathe anew.
As we survey our shattered lives, there’s no need for despair. God is working His beautiful restoration.
And that’s the memo.
By Winn Collier and Our Daily Bread