Monday Meditations

Better Than New

The coffee mug hung momentarily in mid-air, ultimately surrendering to gravity. The morning quiet was shattered along with my favorite mug (a not-so-ironstone cup), as fragments, shards, and coffee splattered everywhere. “What a way to start my Monday,” I muttered.

Maybe you’ve had that type of experience, if not that, possibly a flat tire, a family squabble, or a dreaded phone call. Scratch that, dreaded phone calls always come at 2 o’clock in the morning.
On my knees, hunched over my cup catastrophe, I simultaneously gathered the mug’s seemingly endless fragments, daubed up the coffee and fended off our curious puppy. But mostly I thought about broken stuff. All around me there are broken things, broken relationships, broken families–broken people in a broken world. If I hadn’t needed to get out the door to an important meeting, this broken guy would have gone back to bed, hoping to start over. Relating yet?

The ancient Samurai culture of Japan turned broken cups into a tradition, and then an art form. The feudal warrior class Samurai no longer exist. But the practice of Kintsugi, embracing imperfection, does. When a warrior would accidentally break a tea or sake cup of his lord, it was a tradition that he carefully collect the fragments–just like I was doing in our kitchen–and painstakingly glued the jigsaw-like pieces together using a thick lacquer. Not content with the task, the warrior would then carefully apply a thin stream of gold over the cracks of the once broken cup. Lastly, as a sign of devotion, he would return the good-as-new cup to his lord. Kintsugi is a unique, highly treasured art form that is still practiced today.

Quickly approaching eight decades on this earth, I have concluded that as surely as my coffee cup was shattered, we are all broken people in a broken world. Yet, thru the work of Jesus Christ, we, like the cups touched by the hands of a Kintsugi artist become the unique artwork of our creator who has filled the broken pieces of our lives not with gold, but his precious blood.

In his second letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul describes one who is “in Christ” as one who is a devoted believer and follower of Jesus, as a “new creation.”

I would suggest that through Jesus, we are no longer as good as new–we are better than new.

About this post:

Beliefs represented by individual authors are not necessarily shared by all members of ICW.


  • Gary Cooper

    After fifty plus years in business and ministry, Gary has decided to pick up the craft of writing. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Gary and his wife, Barbara 'retired' to Idaho a decade ago. This lasted approximately six weeks before Gary was asked to consult and coach a number of churches in the state. He is now slowing toward retirement. Gary and Barbara are residents of the Treasure Valley area.

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