I’ve been thinking about where we as humanity have created notions of hierarchy. Of superiority and inferiority. Of manifest destiny. Of racism. Of these ideas that create a “them” and “us” mentality. You can trace these treads of reasoning back to colonialism where European countries thought themselves superior to all other people groups. Where they tried to dominate and control other lesser nations. To slavery, considering black people property. To the crusades fighting a holy war to purge the world of pagans, heresy, and receive atonement. To Roman hierarchy and conquest of Britain. Dominating the original peoples and converting them to Christianity by force. Before the birth of Christ, we see wars, slavery, death, prejudices against people who are “other”. And at long last, we arrive at the garden. To the first moment where mankind knew what knowledge meant. In that critical moment, the mistake of eating from that tree Adam said, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Denial, Blame. God asked Eve, “What have you done?” She replied, “The serpent Deceived me. That’s why I ate it.” Blame, Justification.
In that moment, we took the knowledge of Good and Evil, and began using knowledge to justify our actions. The Colonialist justified their actions by telling themselves they were a superior race. The Crusaders justified their war by saying God wants to destroy paganism. We have justified our actions to fulfill our desires over centuries.
And then Jesus came…
He came teaching us to love our neighbors as ourselves. To be humble and meek. To help those in need. To be compassionate, empathetic, and loving. To have hope and faith that the world is good, not just evil. He came and gave us the gift of reconciliation to God, a path that we had destroyed there in the garden. That moment where we wanted to be like God, Jesus came to heal that moment. To repair it and bring us back into alignment with the will of the Father.
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.
Imagine, Jesus has “reconciled you to himself” through his death. Now you stand “Holy and blameless… you stand before him without a single fault”.
There is history in our stories and our journeys. There are broken pieces that Jesus has mended and healed. We stand holy and blameless, but I think that as we stand before him, we still bare the nicks and scratches of our lives. Like our testimonies that are full of hurt, betrayal, forgiveness, and hope. We tell the pain of our stories to show just how good God really is, and how Jesus has seen all those broken pieces and lovingly mended those back together.
This thought of mending is very similar to the Japanese art form called “Kintsugi”. Kintsugi is a type of art that is about fixing broken pottery. When a bowl is broken, chipped or shattered, it is joined together with an adhesive mixed with gold. The result is a bowl with veins or cracks of gold running through the pot. Kintsugi translates to “Golden Joinery”.
The idea is that if a bowl or cup breaks, it does not mean that it is now useless. On the contrary, when repaired with gold it becomes something more beautiful. The imperfections tell a story and reflect a history of that item. It is not old, or worn, or even out of fashion. It is a journey, a companionship of time, and held lovingly and used frequently. Kintsugi highlights these nicks and scratches to say, “you are still worth it”.
I see Jesus as the Kintsugi. Going back to that first moment in the garden where blame, justification, denial, anger, and greed were first known to man. Jesus was sent to repair that which was broken. To heal the cracks that were caused by that first transgression. Jesus heals our wounds, but I don’t think he forgets them. I don’t think he repairs us to look exactly like we did before all of the pain and suffering of our lives. I think he honors them. Fills them with gold and says to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.
We can’t forget our testimonies and I don’t think Jesus does either. He wept with us when we wept, and laughed with us when we laughed. I imagine standing before him, with all my nicks and scratches filled with gold, as I honor what amazing things he’s done in my life.