Broken Beyond Repair?

This is Day 3 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days of Kintsugi.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click here.

Winchester_Cathedral_Stained_Glass_1_(5696994163)By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favourite examples of Kintsugi in action is the story of the Great West Window at Winchester Cathedral.

In 1642, during the English Civil War, the conflict reached Winchester.  Roundhead soldiers looted the city, and invaded the cathedral, shooting at the windows.  Where once there were beautiful stained glass depictions of Bible stories, soon all that remained were fragments of broken glass.

The people of Winchester were devastated.  The cathedral had been their pride and joy and they had been helpless to prevent its destruction.  In the midst of their sorrow, however, they held onto hope that one day the conflict would end, and they gathered up as many of the broken pieces as they could salvage.

In 1661, when the war was finally over, there were discussions in Parliament about knocking down the cathedral.  It was by this point just an empty shell, with holes in the roof and empty spaces where the windows had once been.

The people of Winchester had a different idea.   They loved their cathedral and they longed to see it restored so they began the pain-staking task of assembling the broken fragments of glass into the window frame once more.

Of course, the destruction was such that it could never be restored to look as it had originally, but with clear glass inserted between the stained glass fragments, the finished effect is one of beauty.

I love how the education leaflet from the cathedral website sums it up:

“It didn’t tell stories from the Bible as it was meant to but told a different story. This story was of good overcoming bad, of great sadness turning into great joy, of conflict and fighting replaced by forgiveness and peace.”

For me, this story perfectly illustrates one of the principles of Kintsugi: even where there is great brokenness, restoration is possible.  It may take time and commitment, and the finished product may look significantly different from the original, but in the midst of the brokenness, there is hope.

The same is true in our lives.  There are circumstances which impact us in such a way that life can never be the same again.  Yet even when our lives seem broken beyond repair, restoration is possible.  God can still do something wonderful with the broken pieces, and the result can be a testimony of hope, telling others of his power to redeem.

“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.”  (Eric Liddell)

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25 thoughts on “Broken Beyond Repair?

    1. But at least Coventry has something of a soulmate in Paddy’s Wigwam, in Liverpool. The speed at which Lutyens is turning in his grave, even today, could easily supply the power needs for the Home Counties, and perhaps Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So now you have me looking up the history of all the different cathedrals! It is interesting to learn more, and it is sad when something that was once beautiful is left in ruins.


  1. You know what it makes me think of Lesley? The Temple. It was destroyed and yet is being rebuilt with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone and His people as living stones. God’s hand upon us remains. Even in awful destruction, His plan to rebuild and restore stands.

    This Scripture has so encouraged me recently, reminding me that our struggles are real, but our God is greater:

    Isaiah 50: 10 – 11 NLT
    Who among you fears the LORD
    and obeys his servant?
    If you are walking in darkness,
    without a ray of light,
    trust in the LORD
    and rely on your God.
    But watch out, you who live in your
    own light
    and warm yourselves by your own fires.
    This is the reward you will receive from me:
    you will soon fall down in great torment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lesley, what a beautiful post. this line struck me: “even where there is great brokenness, restoration is possible.” I need this reminder today. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and passion for kintsugi. I love what I know about this special art.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find such hope in these messages, Lesley. I may not comment every day, but know I am loving them! It’s such a comfort that God works wonders from the brokenness. I love that message in that education leaflet, too. No Bible stories and yet its message is so full of the Gospel, isn’t it? Love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Trudy! I’m glad you are enjoying the series. Yes, the story is a powerful illustration of the Gospel, even though the restored window looked quite different from the original. Love and hugs to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful! Even where there is brokenness, restoration is possible. I pray for those who feel desperately broken that they hear your message and know it as truth.

    You picked a powerful topic for your Write 31Days series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary. It is a powerful topic and I am enjoying exploring it further. Praying that it will be an encouragement to people who are hurting and feel broken.


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