Broken Oneness

A postcard from the 10th Sunday after Pentecost 08/01/21

Modern Kintsugi style repair on hand painted pottery bowl by Artist Ruthann Hurwitz

Bearing with one another in love is a lot harder than it sounds.

While on vacation I watched the “Great Pottery Throwdown.” The premise of the show is simple, a group of potters competes each week, with one potter eventually being declared the winner. The thing that I love about this show (and its counterpart the “Great British Bake Off”) is that the competitors are actually a community of mutual support. If something goes wrong, they help each other so that each potter can do their best. If a pot explodes in the kiln (which happens with some regularity), they help each other put the pieces back together.

The reading from Ephesians [Ephesians 4:1-16] is the turning point in the text. All those amazing things described in the previous chapters—that we are loved, chosen, and saved—now it is time to consider what all of that actually means. First and foremost it means that we are to be one. And to back that up, the writer points out all the things that we already have in common: one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.

This oneness doesn’t mean we are all the same or that we always agree, but it does mean that we bear with one another in love. We use our gifts to support, equip, and lift up others. That our community is about each of us growing into maturity of faith in Jesus Christ.

Rather like pottery, sometimes we break. Sometimes we explode under the heat and pressure of a kiln, and that is when we need each other to put the pieces back together. In Japan, there is a practice called kintsugi. When a plate or pot is broken it is not thrown away. Instead, the vessel is put back together using gold, silver, or platinum. The scar of the break is not erased but instead is made beautiful and is part of the story of that piece.

In our brokenness, we are called to oneness. Through the grace of God, we bear with one another in love. God’s love and grace make up the precious material that holds our broken pieces together.

A sermon from St. Barnabas in Roanoke:

Audio only available here

Coming next

We continue our exploration of the Letter to the Ephesians. What does it look like to live rooted in reconciliation with God and neighbor? How do we practice it in radical ways?

  • August 8 – Messiah, Heflin / “Making Peace” Eph. 4:25 – 5:2
  • August 15 – Messiah Heflin / “Overflow” Eph. 5:15-20
  • August 22 – St. Paul’s, Greensboro / “Teamwear” Eph. 6:10-20

Published by akhudlow

I am a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama. I am a church nerd, printmaker, storyteller, and blogger.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s