Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)

Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)

Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) cover

All these pieces, broken and scattered

In mercy gathered, mended and whole

A Japanese practice exists where broken pottery is mended using lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The result of the repair highlights where the pieces were rejoined together and appear to be held in place by pure gold. In a way, the breakage enhanced the beauty of the original pottery piece. This Japanese practice is called kintsugi.

Kintsugi 金継ぎ  translated literally means “to repair with gold”. It’s also called as the “art of repairing broken things.” Widely believed to have originated in the late 15th century, the philosophy behind the technique is embracing the flawed or imperfect. By using lacquer infused with powdered precious metals, the repair done to the damage is emphasized rather than disguising or concealing it.

“Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated…” – Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

This recognizes the flaw as part of the object’s history. Instead of seeing it as a rendering of uselessness, the flaw adds to the objects value and beauty. It adds meaning.

“…highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.” – Kwan, Pui Ying. “Exploring Japanese Art and Aesthetic as inspiration for emotionally durable design”

In the same way, we who have experienced brokenness are like pottery and ceramics that underwent kintsugi. We have failures, we have downfalls, we have missteps. We tend to see ourselves as worthless, useless, and disposable. Yet through God’s mercy and grace, we are made new.

He allows trials and pains to afflict us, not to punish us, but to refine our faith in Him. The grace and the love that He pours on us is the gold that mends us together. It is through our brokenness that God is seen, His love shines through.

Let our brokenness not be seen as our end of the line. Let it be seen as opportunities to let God freely work in us and on us. We are made more precious in our surrender. We are made more beautiful as we lay down our hurts to Him.

This is what is so amazing about grace. God overlooks our failures and our wretchedness and freely gives His love. All we need is to accept it. See ourselves through His eyes. We did not choose Him, in the first place. He chose us. Why? Love.

Run to Him for He will not jeer at our weaknesses. Run to Him and know love.

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

Zechariah 13:9

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Declaration of the Broken

Heartcry of the Broken

June 19, 2016

I was assigned to lead the worship team for that morning’s Sunday service. Beforehand, I’ve had a week to prepare my line-up. It was a week of praying and asking guidance of which songs God wants me to minister with to the congregation, songs that will lead people to worship and glorify Him. Here’s what God impressed me with:

  • Thank You, Lord – Israel Houghton (Covered Live in Asia)
  • In Jesus’ Name – Israel Houghton (Covered Live in Asia)
  • Leave Me Astounded – Planetshakers (Outback Worship)
  • All Honor – Ron Kenoly

Leading worship isn’t an easy task. It’s not just about getting onstage and making sure that you hit the right notes, sing the correct lyrics, or lose yourself to the rhythm. It’s more than just the musical aspect, it’s about glorifying God. It’s never about ourselves. The whole point of worship is to glorify, honor, praise, exalt, and please God. It must be done in spirit and in truth.

So how can you worship in spirit and in truth if bad news suddenly breaks?

I notified the team about my line-up Monday in the week before my assignment. In my head, I imagined a joyous celebration of God’s faithfulness. My line-up was a reflection of what I feel for God – love and gratitude for everything. In the beginning of that week I was under the belief that I was going to be part of my university’s graduation. “Finally,” I thought, after a year of being delayed.

However, later that same week, my then thesis adviser and I spoke with each other. She told me that I will not be joining this year’s graduation. She still found faults in my thesis. After all the work I’ve put into it, it wasn’t still good enough for her. I was heartbroken. A year had passed and still it wasn’t the best. I imagined leading worship and declaring how God has been faithful with the promise of my graduation, what now?

The moment I received the bad news, I had second thoughts on whether I should still lead worship the coming Sunday. One of my best friends even asked if I’ll still push through with my line-up. Though a shaken, I told her yes.

Each song of in the line-up has a common or central message – letting go and letting God display His glory. To me it meant a declaration of dependence. God is good in the highest points of my life; He is still good even during my lowest.

Sunday morning came. It was also Father’s day. In my head, I was still regretting my failure to be part of this year’s graduates. It was supposed to be my wedding anniversary gift and Father’s day gift to my parents.Yet I know that God has a reason. With hands trembling, voice shaking, and unstoppable tears welling in my eyes, I stood front and center. “God, I’m letting go.”

I testified that I’m not doing well, that in honesty, I was in a place where some find it difficult to worship God. Yet I declared that His mercy endures forever and greater are His plans than ours. I am broken but God will shine through the cracks. My spirit is downtrodden but not incapable of worshiping Him. It was the most sincere and honest I’ve been while leading worship.

And God showed up.

No, it wasn’t a big miracle where I suddenly was included in the list of graduates. It was something greater. It was a spiritual breakthrough. For the first time in all the times I lead worship, people from the congregation saw visions and heard from God. It’s one of my heart’s desires – to feel God’s manifest presence.

Truly, it is better than what I earlier imagined.

Honor God and He will honor your desires. It’s not always in the ways we envisioned, not in the outcomes we perceived, but God remains sovereign in the end.

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (NASB)

The Hope of Christmas

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The Hope of Christmas

(Click the link for the playlist I made)

Every year has its ups and downs, whether extreme or mundane. Sometimes because of these, we lose hope and sight of Christmas. Yet hope was born thousands of years ago, hope’s name was Jesus.

Love came down in the form of a helpless little baby in a manger. The greatest became the least yet He redeems.

Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday Jesus! It’s not the actual date of His birth but it’s the thought that counts. We’re not celebrating because of the food, the gifts, and the fireworks. We’re celebrating the fulfillment of the prophecy of God’s love for us. We’re celebrating the proof of the love of God – His sending of His only Son to earth. Let’s celebrate with joy and love!

Blankets, Tea and a Hope of Sun

Blankets, Tea and a Hope of Sun

I haven’t been able to write for a month or so. But I’ve turned to my physical journal. Even so, I still would like to express my thoughts, revelations, emotions online. I’ve been told about a website where you can create mixes or playlists, very much like the 80’s-90’s trend of creating mix tapes, and early 2000’s mix CDs. Since I enjoy creating playlists, here’s one I put together for the rainy week we’re having. Enjoy. 🙂