The Powerful Imagery of Kintsugi

For hundreds of years, Japanese artists have repaired valuable pottery by sealing the breaks with a lacquer mixed with powdered gold. The word for this tradition, kintsugi, comes from the Japanese kin (“gold”) and tsugi (“join”) and literally means “to join with gold.”

Joni Eareckson Tada first introduced me to this art form in reference to the dignity of people with disabilities. She explained, “Rather than trashing a shattered ceramic jar—tossing it aside because it is worthless—the artists carefully gather the broken shards and use the lacquered gold substance to adhere them back together. The gold is an agent that creates a stunning work of art, resulting in a jar not only that is more lovely but that has a redemptive story.” Joni related kintsugi to our redemption in Christ:

God picks us up and applies the gold of his grace to our brokenness—not disguising it but putting his grace on display for all to see.

Joni Eareckson Tada

Last year, when the team at P&R Publishing and I brainstormed potential cover concepts for my newest book, Remade: Embracing Your Complete Identity in Christ, the image of kintsugi returned to my mind.

Our lives are damaged and broken by humanity’s sin and our own personal rebellion. But God, the ultimate artist, intervenes. He picks up the broken pieces, redeems and forgives us, and joins us to Jesus as we have faith in him. The Spirit frees us from the power of sin and employs suffering to sanctify our hearts and refine our faith, which is “more precious than gold” (1 Peter 1:7). In Christ, we are reborn, redeemed, and remade into the image of the one who saves us, and our lives become a beautiful testimony to our glorious Savior. All glory be to Christ!

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