Solder, Gold, and Heart Fragments

When I was little, I loved to watch my dad in his workshop.  I learned the basics, just enough to be handy around the house.

One of the tools that fascinated me in the shop was the butane torch that melted the solder.  I loved how the blue flame shot out of the nozzle, almost invisible.  I loved, and was intimidated by, how that flame could be aimed at such a precise location to melt a little piece of wire.  I loved watching the wire soften and melt, the molten silver liquid forming in and around its target to strengthen and seal.

Do you see God in heat and solder?  God’s refining fire, aimed at our spots that need to be repaired?

One of the most precious gifts we have is for God to break our hearts.

Break our hearts for the unloved, the discarded

Break our hearts for victims of trafficking and forced labor

Break our hearts for the powerless

Break our hearts for the hungry, the thirsty

Break our hearts for this broken world

God knows the places that need to break in us, places that need some extra heat.  If we pray the prayer “God, break our heart for what breaks yours” God will surely answer.  But then what?  What happens to all those broken pieces?

When I first saw Kintsukuroi, or kintsugi (“golden joinery”), the Japanese art of repairing damaged pottery with gold, I thought of our broken hearts.  Kintsukuroi restores functionality to a broken vessel, but also adds beauty and worth. It turns brokenness into the most valuable part of the piece.

God does break our heart, but doesn’t leave the pieces laying on the table.

The fragments of our heart lay in God’s hand, being lovingly soldered back together with God’s love, put back together with a love that makes our hearts stronger, more beautiful, more aware of God’s world.

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;

we are the clay, and you are our potter;

we are all the work of your hand.  Isaiah 64:8

God, may we each be willing to be vulnerable to heartbreak, unafraid of your refining fire.  Give us the courage to lean into the heat and the discomfort, opening ourselves up to be cracked, and willing to be patched up with your loving hand.  Shape us and mold us, God, to be compassionate people who see all of humanity through your eyes.  Call us, your broken people with patched up hearts, not only to serve, but to be served, humbly accepting love as well as giving it, remembering that we are all your beloved children.

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