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Isaiah 64:1-9 (NRSV)

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
    so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
 as when fire kindles brushwood
    and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
    so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
    you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right,
    those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
    because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
    and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
    or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
    and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
    and do not remember iniquity forever.
    Now consider, we are all your people.


Kintsugi is Japanese for “golden joinery”. It’s a practice in Japanese culture where powdered gold, silver or platinum are used to repair broken pottery. The philosophy behind this is to repair an object recognizing it’s state of brokenness as part of its history as opposed to something to be disguised as though it never happened.

Today’s text from the prophet, Isaiah is another section of scripture about lament. If you ever get upset with God, so do many people in the Bible. It’s all a part of developing a deep, genuine relationship with God. Isaiah is distraught over the the way that God has sometimes appeared to be absent or has been angry. Despite this, he still holds God up with great reverence.

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

I love any and all imagery of God as an artist, but I think a potter is an exceptionally unique description. No matter the skill of the potter, no piece of artwork is exactly the same. Despite all the molding, scraping, mending that goes into creating a piece of work, no matter how long it sits in the hot kiln, pottery remains unreasonably fragile. I also love, though, this idea of embracing that fragility. I love the idea of embracing the times when we break, the times when we lament, the times when we feel like God is angry with us as a part of our history.

We are often encouraged to put on a brave face or not let people know the ways we are broken, but what if we lined it with bright gold?

What if the ways we’ve broken and been put back together again show a story of a messy and daring journey with God?

What if we began seeing the ways we’ve broken yet have remained resilient and kept going as something to wear proudly?

Now consider, we are all your people.

By Rachel Callender

For Pondering & Prayer

As we enter into this Christmas season exhausted from a tumultuous year, take a moment, close your eyes, and try imagining the brokenness you may be feeling. Maybe its caused by loss, grief, tiredness, depression. Then imagine slowly lining each and every section of your brokenness with gold. It holds you together and becomes a part of your history.

Prayer: Great Potter, each and every one of us are molded from your handiwork. Breathe your Spirit through of brokenness. Don’t just put us on the shelf, but use us. And when we crack and chip, repair us. Amen.