“Redemption.” (Romans 3:24)
In my office sits a pot. A student made it as an extra credit assignment in a class for me last Spring (2015). She wanted to do something other than a typical research assignment, so we decided she could do a piece of art.
She went to Home Depot, bought the ceramic pot, broke it into pieces, painted each piece, wrote a New Testament passage on each piece that speaks about God restoring and redeeming us, then made a valiant effort to glue it all together again.
When she delivered her finished assignment to me, I asked her what spiritual lessons she had learned from the exercise. She did not hesitate. “Two things,” she said.
“First, I discovered that the pieces would never fit perfectly back as they once were. Then I realized that no matter what God did in my life, I would never be exactly as I once was.”
“Second, it took me far longer to reconstruct the pot than I imagined. And I realized that the work of God in my life might take a lot longer than I expect. I should be patient.”
The pot sits on a bookcase next to my office door. People ask about it all the time, and I happily tell the story.
That humble pot thought that it might one day sit in a backyard and hold a plant. But its brokenness and reconstruction, though far less than perfect, has given it enormously greater value and purpose than ever. It’ll never hold things like it once might have. But it now gives glory to God in ways that it never imagined.
That’s the essence of redemption. Technically, redemption refers to the process of being “bought back.” But we might equally think of redemption as “restored or renewed purpose.”
Today, as we continue the journey through Lent (and Romans) together, consider both the pot and your own life. While we may grieve that we cannot be restored entirely to the purity and innocence of our past, let’s know also that the re-purposed pot — broken but not destroyed — may have a far greater testimony and bring far greater glory to Christ.
Let’s learn to be content, grateful, and alert to telling the story.