This is Day 12 of 31 Days of Kintsugi.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click here.
Today as we continue looking at stories from the Bible which illustrate the principles of Kintsugi, we come to the story of Mephibosheth.
Whenever I hear the name Mephibosheth, it makes me smile- it reminds me of a funny story, which has nothing to do with Kintsugi, but which I’ll include at the end of the post for your amusement.
First though, the serious bit:
Mephibosheth is the son of Jonathan and grandson of King Saul. We first read about him in 2 Samuel 4:
“(Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when the report came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, she dropped him, and he became crippled.)” (2 Samuel 4:4-5 NLT)
At first glance it seems strange: his story is included in brackets, it seems to have little to do with the rest of the narrative, and all we really learn about Mephibosheth is his brokenness.
However, later on, in 2 Samuel 9, after David has become king, he asks around to see if there is anyone from his friend Jonathan’s family that he can honour for Jonathan’s sake. His servant tells him about Mephibosheth, and David summons Mephibosheth and invites him to eat at the king’s table!
Mephibosheth protests, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?” (v8 NLT) but David insists, and it is noted that, “Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.” (v13 NLT)
It’s a beautiful illustration of God’s grace.
Like Mephibosheth, there are times when our brokenness can make us feel worthless, like a “dead dog,” but like David, God seeks us out and invites us to sit at his table. He calls us to come as we are- broken and crippled- and he welcomes us and honours us.
Kintsugi points to an object’s inherent value, despite its damage, and that’s what God assures us of as he calls us to come, broken, to receive his grace.
“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink- even if you have no money! Come take your choice of wine or milk- it’s all free!” (Isaiah 55:1 NLT)
And now, my funny Mephibosheth story:
When I was 9 years old, I went on holiday with my family to a seaside town in Wales. We discovered there was a beach mission taking place, and I loved it and went along as often as I could. I mainly remember how much fun it was to sit and sing on the beach, but there was also the Mephibosheth story.
One day we played a game. Everyone had to stand up; the leader would call out a letter of the alphabet and you had to think of a Bible character whose name began with that letter. Then the leader would call out Bible characters’ names one at a time and if the name you had thought of was called you had to sit down. The last one standing was the winner.
When the leader called out the letter M, I was excited. I had a really good one, or so I thought. At the children’s club I went to, we had recently been learning the story of David and we had heard about Mephibosheth. I was pretty sure no-one else would guess that.
I stood up proudly and waited for the leader to announce the first name: “Mmmmm….” He paused for dramatic effect… “Mmmm…. Mephibosheth!”
I couldn’t believe it! I sat down, gutted that my brilliant answer had made me the very first person to be put out.
My dad, who had been watching, said that the only thing funnier than the look on my face was the look on the leader’s face, as he had obviously gone for an obscure character so that no-one would be put out on the first turn, and he couldn’t believe that someone had actually known about Mephibosheth!