Did the title nudge you to hit “unsubscribe”? Well, even if I write only to figure out what I’m thinking, I’ll keep at it. For starters, the idea originated in a May 22, 2022 Boston Globe article entitled, Radical Menders Vs. Disposable Everything by Veronique Greenwood. It’s about salvaging, but not just through needlework. The author states, radical mending is “a grassroots movement challening our throwaway culture by fixing clothes with repairs that make fashion statements on their own.”
Well, it didn’t take me long to leap from fabrics to folks. Who doesn’t need mending? Do you know anyone who hasn’t been ripped apart by someone or something? Worn down by use or abuse? Unraveling at the seams? Made wrong choices or failed to act? (Silence isn’t always golden.) But before I plunge into despair, I take hope from times I showed up, like the prodigal son in Luke 15, and Jesus welcomed me home. Sometimes Jesus used other folks, music, solitude, books or circumstances to mend. But, looking back, God’s Radical Mender, oversaw and oversees my ongoing restoration. Yours,too.
A lot needs fixing. Landfills, lawyers and lines drawn demonstrate our preference to toss rather than mend. Whch is why I’m fascinated with Kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken pottery. Instead of tossing and replacing with new, the artist pieces together with gold. The cracks, highlighted by gold, transform the scars into beautiful art. The broken becomes stronger and even more valuable through this re-creation.
In contrast, the word sincere tells another tale. The story exposes when some sculptors hid flaws with wax. However, when held to the light, the cracks became obvious. So to be sincere meant to be without (sin) wax(cera). While not all scholars agree with this etymology, it works for me and the value of visible mending, versus hiding flaws. As for a definition, most agree that to be sincere is to be true, not false.
So where’s this going? Well, lets starts with choosing something cracked or broken in our country, churches or relationships. It helps me to begin with the premise that no institution or person is perfect. All need mending. But like AA, it begins by admitting the truth, not acting like all cracked pots are on the other side, in another church, race, political party, gender or family.
Yesterday I read the following in Buechner’s, Listening to Your Life: Bebb, a preacher sort, likens the Kingdom of Heaven to a “love feast where nobody’s a stranger.” He reminds his listeners, “we all got secrets… done hurtful things… all scared and lonesome, but most of the time we keep it hid.” Then adds, “It’s like everyone of us has lost his way, so bad we don’t even know which way is home any more only we’re ashamed to ask.” And if we asked? ” Why, what would happen is we’d find our home is each other. We’d find our home is Jesus that loves us lost or found or any whichway.”
Veronique Greenwood concluded her article on Radical Menders with, “In the daily crush of things you can’t control and events you can’t believe are happening, a small act of resurrection feels significant all out of proportion to its size.
Who knows what a stitch in time saves when something or, especially, someone lands in the hands of a radical mender.
All Heaven breaks loose.
That’s what happens.
Holy Cracked Pots!
Broken but blessed, bearing the mark of The Master Mender’s nail-scarred hands.
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