“I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.”
Psalm 31:12 NIV
One of the worst things we can feel as human beings is the dejection of thinking we are unusable, that we are broken beyond any hope. That our destiny is only to be cast aside and discarded without thought. There are many situations that can bring us to this place of desolation: losing a spouse, divorce, redundancy, sudden illness or disability. Sometimes the realisation that we are no longer valued comes more slowly, with the silence of a long-time friend, a marriage falling irretrievably apart, a child who no longer calls. Perhaps it is still subtler than that. Loss of looks, an awareness that our academic credentials are out of date, a falling out of favour.
Whatever causes it, we feel like a jar that has not only been left at the back of the cupboard with a rapidly approaching use by date, but pushed so far out of reach that it has fallen off the shelf and shattered, and worse still, that no-one even heard the crash.
But here is a hopeful thought. This phrase is from the Psalm that Jesus chose to reference at the very time of his death. “Into your hands I commit my Spirit…” is how verse five begins. This song is interspersed with a whole gamut of emotions, stretched to the utmost. It talks of great suffering and injustice, but also of trusting the Lord. Was ever anyone as broken or stretched as Jesus on the cross? Flogged, scourged, spat on, tormented, taunted, crucified, betrayed, deserted, ridiculed, weighed down with all the darkness of history, and worse still, forsaken. And a second question, which must follow. If Jesus had not been so broken, would the bread, his body broken for us, have any power?
If this wholeness through brokenness to transformed wholeness is the journey that our Lord lived and died to show us, might we not take heart that our own broken pieces might yet be gathered up and used to feed thousands, with basketfuls left over?
Photo from Morguefile.com of a pot mended using the Japanese art of Kintsugi, gold used to fuse the broken pieces back together.