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Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Our society generally does not favour such repair; we live in a disposable society, where when something breaks, it gets thrown away.  It can actually be cheaper, for example, to buy a new printer than to buy a cartridge for it when the ink runs out. This attitude can even be carried over into the workplace, with many employees feeling that they are discarded whenever it is convenient for the company.

God does not view us as disposable, however. He is the Potter who re-forms and re-works the clay into something beautiful (see Jer 18). I like the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, however, because it does not attempt to disguise the breakage; it uses something precious to repair and strengthen. Jesus still bore the scars of the crucifixion in His resurrected body (in Michael Card’s words, He is ‘known by the scars’). We belong to a God who makes whole (He assembles the broken, shattered pieces of our lives into something beautiful, as Aaron Shust puts it.) We are His living examples of kintsugi.