The Broken Wholeness of Good Friday
Posted by on March 30, 2018Topic: ResurrectionTopic: Uncategorized
Topic: Jesus Christ
As a boy one of my favourite activities was going down to the banks of our neighbourhood creek and spending hours cracking open rocks to see the crystals inside. I loved the thought of discovering something precious, something that had never been seen before, which I could now marvel over in the palm of my hand.
A couple weeks ago something of this boyhood wonder came alive again. In the RZIM Canada office we are blessed to have beautiful art on display for us to invite the public to come in to enjoy. The current exhibit is done in the Japanese “kintsugi” style, where the artist literally breaks porcelain paintings, but then builds them back together again by filling the cracks with liquid gold.
It was the gold that brought back the geologist in me. Here was something far more precious than my broken rocks by the creek. Here was pure gold, infusing a broken painting with a preciousness and a glow that made it far more arresting and beautiful than it had ever been before. The gold wasn’t just a garnish – it literally held the painting together.
Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul wrote that in Jesus “all things hold together.” What did he mean? Presumably for Paul “all things” do not hold together on their own. Like the pieces of the broken paintings, they fall to the floor. For Paul, all of reality is marked by a sort of brokenness – emotional, relational, physical, and spiritual. We have been hurt by others, and we have hurt ourselves. God feels far away. We are not the people we want to be – or the people we want others to see. Pop artist Jon Bellion puts it this way, “We live in an age where everything is staged, where all we do is fake our feelings – I’ve been scared to put myself so out there… Take these walls and rip them down.” We are broken – and yet to be broken is a scary thing. We’re quick to build walls to keep others (and ourselves) unaware of the pain that really lies within.
Paul – and Jon Bellion – would have us see that we too are broken, but that’s not where we need to remain. Paul is saying there is something, like the gold in kintsugi, that can hold us together – something that can come into contact with the sharp pieces of our lives and bring a “broken wholeness” that wasn’t there before.
For Paul this broken wholeness, like the art, is made possible through the infusion of something precious. It’s made possible, he tells us a few verses later, because of the peace with God that comes through “the blood of his cross.” He gives us an image of broken people, being held together not by the most precious metal of the earth, but by the most precious blood of heaven, poured out on our behalf, that we might be forgiven and have peace with God again. On the cross, the one person who was truly whole – emotionally, relationally, physically, spiritually complete – became broken for us, so that that in him we could come to have a wholeness we never had before, found in a restored, intimate relationship with him.
On Good Friday, we cast aside the façade of being people who aren’t broken. Instead, we are invited to crack open the mystery of the cross and marvel over the beauty we find within, God who was broken for us in Christ. Our scars remain – but he meets us with his own, he offers to hold us together and to make us into something beautifully broken but whole, restored to love a broken and hurting world through him.
“For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last.”
Keith and Kristyn Getty,
“He will hold me fast.”