Recently, a magazine I subscribe to asked for readers to submit their own writings on the theme of “scars.” When the articles were featured, a picture of a small, obviously repaired clay bowl accompanied the writings. The bowl had been repaired in the ancient Japanese art of kintsugi in which the broken pieces of pottery are re-joined using a mixture of natural glues and powdered precious metals. The “scar” of the bowl’s brokenness was evident. There was no way to hide the ugly mark of its repair. But knowing the care put into the repair allowed a beauty to emerge. The ugly scar bore a new beauty in the visible mark of its healing.
Our bodies have a marvelous ability to heal, but sometimes a scar remains as a visible reminder of the wound that had once been there, of the brokenness we had once endured. There is beauty in that scar which serves as a mark of overcoming, as a sign of strength, as a reminder of healing. We all bear scars, some more visible than others. Perhaps the scars were where we had once been wounded by another’s words or deeds. Perhaps the wounds were self-inflicted – like the regrets and grudges we carry. The scars represent how we have struggled to become whole. The scars represent the precious love of Jesus and others that have helped to put us back together.
There is beauty in those scars too. We remember the patience of others as they walked with us in our woundedness. We remember their encouraging words that became the glue that held us up and held us together. We think of the love of Jesus poured out to mend the brokenness we carry as sin. There is beauty in that mending as well. That scar holds in it both the memory of the wound as well as the thankfulness of healing. That scar takes the shape of a cross.
Rev. Juli Sutton-Deem pastors at Light of the Cross Lutheran Church in Garrison.