“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” Anne Lamott
Just like the pottery above, the 15th Century practice of Kintsugi, ‘joining with gold’, encourages us to understand that our broken places can make us stronger and better than ever before. Kintsugi suggests our broken parts can be put back together and we can learn to embrace the cracks.
How many times have you been ‘broken’ and thought there was no reason to hope – until – you were reminded that being ‘broken’ has actually helped make you stronger?
Why does God show us over and over again through the Bible that, especially at times when we are broken, He can find us, meet us, and make us stronger than before, stronger than we thought possible?
In this year of ‘Hope with Grace’, we will see the many ways that God, through His grace, meets and restores us, not just for our own spiritual benefit, but to bless those around us, our Pacific Group school communities, our students and their families.
John Piper describes grace as “Eternal comfort and good hope through grace”(Piper, 1986). Others use the acronym GRACE to explain it: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Both phrases are helpful but how does this eternal comfort and good hope work? How can it help us in those times when we know we need God’s grace to face and ‘go through the fire’? If we memorize and believe them, can they fan the flames of hope in our hearts?
We often find it easier to believe something when we see it in action – grace in action. As we look this year at what grace actually does, and watch grace in action, we will see how hope through grace can be nurtured, sustained and strengthened.
Just like in Kintsugi, where the broken pieces of pottery are ‘glued’ back together with gold, becoming useful and treasured again, so God’s grace can be understood, embraced and lived out. We will take a look at some examples of this in scripture, inspired Christian literature and modern Christians.
People from the Bible such as Abram (Abraham), Rahab, and Tamar, famous literary characters such as pilgrim in Pilgrim’s progress, and CS Lewis’ children in Narnia – Peter, Edmund, Susan, Lucy and Eustace – all will help us see Grace in action. Today’s Christians will show us God’s grace in action. We will see how Abraham and Sarah experienced God’s grace in action, when Abraham was following God obediently and when he was letting fear rise up, trying to ‘problem solve’ out of situations without trusting in God. God’s grace to Abraham, especially in those times of fear and wavering, will encourage us not to give up, not to stay broken but to ask God to step in and put us back together, stronger than before, more able to share Him in our sphere of influence. Worship leader Darlene Zschech will encourage us to see God’s grace in action today and the hope that is sustained through this wonderful relationship.
We will want to apply that same grace to all our relationships, whether we are teachers or other staff, sharing in the classroom or in passing with students and their families in all our roles.
As Bob Frisken suggests, whether we are teachers or non-teachers, we will want to encourage all our students to “confess what the Lord is doing in their lives”(Frisken, 2022, p. 77), taking them into deeper spiritual truths and “stronger beliefs in their hearts”(Frisken, 2022, p. 77) for when they finish their schooling and enter the world as young adults.
It is true – the mystery of God’s grace is that He meets us where we are at, and then keeps moving us ever closer to Him. I’m very much looking forward to sharing these stories of God’s grace in action with you this year.
May you be inspired and encouraged to share God’s grace – in action – in your living, teaching and working with your school communities.
Frisken, R. (2022). A study in Ephesians for Christian Educators. New Hope International
Piper, J. (1986). Why Hope? Grace! https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/why-hope-grace
Godwin, R & Roberts, D. (2012). The Grace Outpouring. Integrity Publishers
Chapman, G. & Fabry, C. (2013). Extraordinary Grace. Moody Publishers
Kintsugi bowls image obtained from Kintsugi Décor, California, United States.