For the last several months, I have been listening to the Culture Care podcast, “Light Through the Cracks,” hosted by Brianna Kinsman and Makoto Fujimura. The pilot episode unpacks the concepts of culture care, art, faith, and the art of kintsugi. Kintsugi is a traditional Japanese art form in which kintsugi masters mend broken pottery using lacquer and gold. Kinsman describes the process of kintsugi as follows: first, name the fracture; second, see the landscapes that arise from the fractures; third, sand down the edges; and fourth, mend the pieces together with gold and lacquer.
I believe that the kintsugi art form has significant applications to those called to a vocation in music and worship arts, and to the church as a whole. We have the opportunity to live in a broken world as kintsugi people. Artist Makoto Fujimura shares this reflection on his website:
You see, when you create and make into the fissures of life — when you rebuild from a devastating fire — when you create, despite scarcity — when you “consider the lilies” (Matthew 6), especially when you are afraid — then God chooses those moments to reveal God’s Presence in our lives. We are makers, as our God is our Maker. God did not promise us an easy life, but promised us an abundant one — an abundant life of creativity and imaginative freedom.
Fujimura goes on to speak these prophetic words to us:
Your generation will mend, and pour gold into the fissures of our broken times. And you can not only mend; you can create anew, create a world in which an invitation will be given to those who are broken. Those who mourn, those who are persecuted and those who are poor in spirit will be offered a great light. Your lives can be an offering of peace in a divided time — a gesture of hope for those in despair. Your sacrifice will be an aroma of the New.
So go mend. Be the kintsugi masters of your generation, of your own disciplines, in the workplaces and in your homes. Pour gold into the fissures of the world.
This is my prayer for all artists and non-artists this Easter season. Become a kintsugi master in the world around you. Name the fractures. Imagine the redemptive landscapes that can arise as you radiate Christ’s light and glory. Work out your faith and art with fear and trembling as the Spirit sands and sanctifies the rough edges. And then, go mend.
But do not go alone. Join with the creative community of artistic disciples—poets, visual artists, songwriters, novelists, dancers, designers—who poise their craft to point to the True Creator of us all. We would love to share this sacred space with you.
You can read Makoto Fujimura’s entire article here: https://makotofujimura.com/writings/kintsugi-generation/
Listen to the Culture Care Podcast: https://culture-care-podcast.simplecast.com/
About the Author
Elise Massa serves as a Regional Director for United Adoration in Pittsburgh, PA. She serves her local church as the Assistant Director of Music and Worship Arts for Church of the Ascension.
Elise discovered art’s redemptive power for the Kingdom of God after her conversion in 1999. Her road to worship arts ministry includes training in theater and voice, earning a B.A. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Indiana University-Bloomington, studying abroad in music and worship with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), and working alongside youth and families with special needs.
Passionate about empowering God’s people to worship with their own voice and story, she is co-founder (with Stacey Regan) of the Ascension Songwriters Collaborative. She is inspired by the lives of St. Teresa of Ávila, Mahalia Jackson, Monet, Makoto Fujimura, John Donne, and Maya Angelou.