Tag Archives: imperfect

Christ, and Him Crucified

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 15, 2018

St. Paul, Guercino_stpaul3.jpg

Christ, and Him Crucified

Sometimes, Paul’s words are just that—wordy, pedantic, with run-on sentences. He did not craft parts of his writings with meticulous care. (Which of us in email regularly crafts the words we use with great care?) Some of Paul’s letters were, I suspect, written in some haste. At least, not given the great amount of care with which Paul wrote the letter to the Roman church. I’m reminded of the quote from Jane Austen, paraphrased, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” Brevity and clarity in writing sometimes take considerable time and thought.

At times, Paul gets really excited. His subject matter, of course, is often weighty and even exalted—if not transcendent. Seriously, why not get excited about such things? This is only natural. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” As Prof. Williams says in his book of reflections, Paul is a passionate man, speaking passionately about this subject so meaningful to him and what has become his whole life—Jesus Christ, crucified, resurrected, and ascended. [1] Spreading the Good News, to Paul, has become his primary, even sole purpose in life.

Going back to Prof. Williams and his in-depth look at Paul the man, one thing stood out to me. “It is always worth remembering that Paul didn’t know he was writing the Bible; that is to say that, when he is writing (or rather dictating) his letter, what we have is a flow of argument which, because Paul is an emotional man, sometimes gets so tangled in its expression that a sentence breaks off and you have to start all over again.” [2] His construction can be wordy, or labored, or even in sentence fragments. And, this is the apostle Paul in all his imperfect humanity. Like all of us, Paul was not perfect, and certainly admits as much a number of times in his letters.

I have very much enjoyed renewing my admiring acquaintance with Paul, both through the book of reflections Meeting God in Paul as well as through the readings Prof. Williams has chosen for daily readings. Dear Lord, I pray this can lead me to journey closer with You not only in Lent, but also throughout the rest of the church year. In Christ’s crucified, risen and triumphant name I pray, amen.



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meeting God in Paul: Reflections for the Season of Lent, Rowan Williams (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015), 19.

[2] Ibid. 20.

Cracked Pots and Prayer

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tea bowl fixed  in the Kintsugi method

Tea bowl fixed
in the Kintsugi method

Cracked Pots and Prayer

Ever feel fragile? The pressure, difficulty or challenge coming down on you is too much? Like you were going to crack, or break? Sometimes I feel fragile. Yes, I freely admit it.

The Bible talks about earthen vessels, in several places. 2 Corinthians 4:7 speaks of common clay pots, in the Good News Translation. Clay pots and other earthenware are pretty easy to break. It’s a common, everyday sort of serving and eating utensil. What is also common is a well-known fact: clay pots and earthenware sometimes break.

I know very well that I’m imperfect. Sometimes I think I can’t serve God efficiently enough. Or communicate well enough. Or teach effectively enough. The good news for me, right now, is that God can use me—even when I am broken. Or imperfect. Or even fragile and ready to crack.

A fascinating way of repairing cracked pottery and other dishes comes from Japan, called Kintsugi. I was stunned to find out that the Japanese mix resin with powdered gold or silver, and then the broken pieces of pottery are attached or repaired. This precious metal mixture repairs the break. Moreover, there is no attempt made to hide either the cracks or the repairs. The precious metal becomes an intrinsic part of the repaired, renewed pottery.

What an image—what a hopeful turn of events for me. So, God can use me, even when I am broken. And God can take those breaks, those fault lines, those cracks, and repair them with God’s own precious metal mixture—God’s own grace and mercy. Leaving me ready to serve, to pray, to be kind to others. Praise the Lord.

Let’s pray and thank God! Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for this wonderful image of Kintsugi. Thank You for Your goodness and grace extended to me, and to many others, even when we feel fragile. Even when we know we are imperfect and broken. Help us to serve You in spirit and in truth, knowing that we carry Your treasure within us, shining out like those precious metal repairs of Kintsugi. Thank You, so much. We pray in Your precious name, Amen.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net