Last Monday we took our first steps back into worshipping in the building. Fifteen people gathered for a simple service of Holy Eucharist in the Muriel Moore Chapel, and in my homily, I spoke about the Japanese art of Kintsugi—literally translated as “golden joinery.” Kintsugi is the process of mending broken pottery with glue and a gold dusted lacquer. Rather than trying to hide the brokenness and the cracks, Kintsugi embraces them as part of the whole. The result is a work of art that is created with elements of the past and has a new beauty forged from the experiences of the present.
We are all in the process of taking steps toward some sense of the normalcy we knew before Covid took its toll. And as we do so, we know that even as we try to replicate our former experiences, nothing is going to be exactly the same. And so, we pick up the pieces, choosing to recreate with new life and a beauty born of our current circumstances.
Holy Apostles is prepared to engage this process. This community has done it before. After the devastating fire that gutted the church, the decision was made to build back in a new form. No pews. A new floor. A multi-use space that could house and nurture a more diverse array of visitors and activity. This was a courageous choice! Using the broken pieces of the building, a new space emerged, ready to welcome new life.
Another aspect of the art of Kintsugi is that it takes time. If a practitioner rushes the re-assembly, the entire piece falls apart. When one piece is fastened and the golden glue allowed to dry, followed by the next, the creation of a gorgeous new work takes shape. Similarly, we are in the process of recreating our common life together: sustained by our past, acknowledging the losses we experience now, and, step by step, building toward a beautiful reality both startling and new.