Monday, September 9, 2013

Broken and Gilded

We took our children to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday,
where there was much to wonder at.
In the Asian arts section, a strange shape across the room caught my eye,
and I walked over to look at it.
It was unusually shaped, glazed and gilded pottery of some kind.
I read the plaque explaining about it.
The artist (Yee Sookyung) had collected potters' discarded fragments --
so many pieces that were broken and tossed out
by those who knew what they were doing.
Professionals with tasks at hand had done their work,
and when a piece did not measure up, sent it to the trash pile.

But an artist had a plan.
Collecting these useless broken pieces,
she set out to use an ancient technique for pottery repair.
Gluing each piece together carefully,
she formed a misshapen vase out of those pieces rejected by their owners.
But she wasn't finished when she glued them.
Each broken edge, glued to other broken edges,
made one by her skill, was gilded.
All the breaks were painted with gold.

The finished piece
was certainly not what any potter would have set out to form.
But an artist did.
It is called a "Translated Vase".
And while the pots those professionals made
were probably sold in shops to be used in households,
the artist's work is displayed in an art museum.
Every day, hundreds of people walk past it,
and they look at the gilded edges of broken discarded trash
and they read the name of the artist.

God, being rich in mercy, 
for his great love wherewith he loved us, 
even when we were dead through our trespasses, 
made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), 
and raised us up with him, 
and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus: 
that in the ages to come 
he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: 
for by grace have ye been saved through faith; 
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 
not of works, that no man should glory. 
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, 
which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.
~Ephesians 2:5-10

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