Feast of St.Matthew
Today, the church celebrates the Feast of St. Matthew, both disciple and author. Ephesians clearly outlines for us who and what we are as a church. The emphasis is on our calling, who and what we are to become as church, and the prevalent part each of us has in complementing one another in the process.
As church, we gifted by the holy spirit, using our God-given talents to bring about the kingdom of God. We are called to work in tandem with one another. We are called to be transparent and transformative!
The Gospel reading, which outlines the calling of Matthew, inherently demonstrates the calibre and character of the type of person Matthew is and, furthermore the calibre of persons that Jesus chooses to spend his time with.
The song “Come As You Are” Deidre Brown clearly speaks to the underlying message at the core of today’s Gospel reading. While “The Summons (John L Bell)” outlines what we are called to become through the transformative challenge of discipleship.
As we learn this week of yet another church scandal in Australia – the results of the investigation known as “Estis Lux Mundi authorised by Pope Francis into the activities of Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders; I find myself once again admitting that this is, unfortunately, the public face of the church that most people in the secular world identify with.
We are a church of Saints and Sinners!
I remember in my early days of Clinical. Pastoral Education being presented with the concept of Kintsugi as a metaphor for Christianity and the Church.
Kintsugi, also known as Kintsukuroi, is a traditional Japanese art form that involves repairing broken pottery or ceramics with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The word “kintsugi” can be translated as “golden joinery” or “golden repair. When held up, the light shines through the imperfections brighter and stronger than before.
Kintsugi not only restores the functionality of a damaged item but also elevates it to a new level of aesthetic value, emphasising the unique beauty that can emerge from the process of mending. This practice has gained popularity beyond Japan and is often seen as a metaphor for embracing one’s own flaws and imperfections as part of their history and beauty.
The philosophy behind kintsugi is rooted in the idea that embracing imperfections and the history of an object, rather than disguising or discarding them, can make it even more beautiful. The visible cracks and repairs are seen as part of the object’s history and character, highlighting its resilience and the journey it has been through.
The “golden joinery or golden repair is what we become as a church through the grace and mercy of God.
Put simply, God does his best work through broken people.
Elizabeth MacKinlay, who is a member of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT) at Charles Sturt University Canberra and a researcher into issues around spirituality, frailty and ageing, continually emphasises the idea that God works through people’s brokenness.
Personally, as I reflect on my own brokenness, flaws and imperfections and then on my ministry, I come to a deeper realisation and understanding as to how kintsugi becomes a working metaphor for a church made up of sinners. This is who and what we are, called through our own brokenness to demonstrate….. “Mercy, not sacrifice……. called as sinners,” to be the face of God in our broken world.
Michael Schiano has been a member of St. Brigid’s parish since 1990. As a parish member, he has served on the Parish Pastoral Council, Liturgy Committee, and Bereavement Team and is a member of the Passionist Companions. He has been an educator in the Archdiocese and has held positions in middle management and executive leadership positions. He currently works in Aged Care in the roles of Pastoral Care Co-Ordinator at Brigidine House, Randwick; St. Anne’s Hunters Hill; and Chaplaincy, Pastoral Care Officer at Calvary Ryde.