TUESDAY 20TH JULY

BEAUTY IN BROKENNESS

“He makes everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

How God works in brokenness for good. We see this in the life of Joseph.

Read the scripture below:

Genesis 45:1-14 ERV

Joseph could not control himself any longer. He cried in front of all the people who were there. Joseph said, “Tell everyone to leave here.” So all the people left. Only the brothers were left with Joseph. Then he told them who he was. Joseph continued to cry, and all the Egyptian people in Pharaoh’s house heard it. He said to his brothers, “I am your brother Joseph. Is my father doing well?” But the brothers did not answer him because they were confused and afraid. So Joseph said to his brothers again, “Come here to me. I beg you, come here.” When the brothers went to him, he said to them, “I am your brother Joseph. I am the one you sold as a slave to Egypt. Now don’t be worried. Don’t be angry with yourselves for what you did. It was God’s plan for me to come here. I am here to save people’s lives. This terrible famine has continued for two years now, and there will be five more years without planting or harvest. So God sent me here ahead of you so that I can save your people in this country. It was not your fault that I was sent here. It was God’s plan. God made me like a father to Pharaoh. I am the governor over all his house and over all Egypt.” Joseph said, “Hurry up and go to my father. Tell him his son Joseph sent this message: ‘God made me the governor of Egypt. So come here to me quickly. Don’t wait. You can live near me in the land of Goshen. You, your children, your grandchildren, and all of your animals are welcome here. I will take care of you during the next five years of hunger. So you and your family will not lose everything you own.’ “Surely you can see that I really am Joseph. Even my brother Benjamin knows it is me, your brother, talking to you. So tell my father about the honour I have received here in Egypt. Tell him about everything you have seen here. Now hurry, go bring my father back to me.” Then Joseph hugged his brother Benjamin, and they both began crying.

SELECT A WORD OR PHRASE AND REST WITH IT IN MEDITATION

READ THE FOLLOWING REFLECTION AND STAY WITH WHATEVER STRIKES YOU.

How amazing and great it is to see flowers blossom in hard unwelcoming ground! How wonderful it is to see broken glass from shattered stain glass windows in Bethlehem being made into glass angels of hope. Both are works of creativity and transformation born out of brokenness and hardship.

Often hardship and brokenness are viewed negatively and yet is it not true that only when we are pressed down and under hardship that our character is moulded for good. We see this time and time again in various Biblical characters. Take Joseph as an example. He was the favoured and beloved son of Jacob but at a young age found himself sold by his brothers out of anger and resentment to merchants, who took him to Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials. Here Joseph finds himself in an alien culture, isolated and alone.

In many ways Covid 19 has caused brokenness and hardship in our lives. We have been forced like Joseph into an alien culture and experienced at times isolation and aloneness. How did Joseph fare in his foreign environment? Life started off reasonably okay. Joseph did his best and tried to lead a moral and upright life but Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. Although Joseph fled the temptation, she wrongly accused him and so Joseph was put in prison, into complete lockdown. His freedom restricted and his social contacts reduced to a handful of people. Yet Joseph, despite all, clung to God as his refuge and strength.

Whilst in prison, he was given great responsibility and matured as a person. To cut a long story short, Joseph comes out of this hardship and finds himself in the prestigious role of governor. Whilst he was governor, he had an opportunity to be reconciled with his brothers. Joseph and his brothers had experienced brokenness and hardship as a result of their selfish attitudes and misguided behaviour.

Out of this brokenness and hardship comes healing for Joseph and his brothers. The past cannot be undone but it can serve as a learning tool for the future and create an opportunity to start afresh. No-one wants to be broken or face hardship, yet so often it leads to character transformation and inner beauty. That was certainly true of Joseph and his brothers. In times of brokenness and hardship, God can bring something positive from it, as we trust in him. “He makes everything beautiful in its time.” 

Reflect on the times in your own life when beauty has come out of brokenness… bring your thanks to God.

In Japan, they’ve made an art out of restoring broken things. An ancient practice called Kintsugi, meaning “golden joinery” or “to patch with gold,” is an age-old custom of repairing cracked pottery with real gold, not only fixing the break, but greatly increasing the value of the piece.

The heart of it all – turning what is broken into beautiful, cherished pieces, by sealing the cracks and crevices with lines of fine gold. Instead of hiding the flaws, Kintsugi artists highlight them, creating a whole new design and bringing unique beauty to the original piece. The pottery actually becomes more beautiful and valuable in the restoration process because, though it was once broken, it not only has history, but a new story.

While most normal repairs of broken things hide themselves, like nicely sealed super glue fixes, the usual intent is simply to make something “as good as new.” Yet the art of Kintsugi reinforces a profound belief that the repair can make things not only as good as they were before, but “better than new.”

Better than new. Soak that in for a moment.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, you made us in your image.

We are wonderfully and fearfully made.

Yet we are a broken people.

We have been damaged by others.

We have been hurt by words spoken,

and actions done.

Take our brokenness and bring beauty from it. Amen

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

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The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall. Check here for December arrangements which will be different.

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