MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next, an excerpt from Listening In.
This week, a conversation with Sandra McCracken, a singer and songwriter. For more than 20 years, she’s been a leading voice in Christian music.
NICK EICHER, HOST: She released her latest album in 20-18 titled Songs from the Valley. It explores lament, suffering, and healing. Host Warren Smith starts out with the analogy of a broken bowl. Let’s listen.
WARREN SMITH: Sandra, I know you know the work of Makoto Fujimura and he often talks about this concept. It’s an ancient art form, I think it’s called Kintsugi—where the ceramic bowls that are broken and then they’re put back together using gold in the cracked places. That’s the solder, and the broken places, it’s actually much more valuable than the original ceramic bowl.
SANDRA MCCRACKEN: Yeah. I was out in California at Fuller Seminary and got to see one of these bowls and was there with a group of artists and Mako was there and he put one in my hands and it’s profoundly beautiful. So it’s the value of the gold itself, but it’s also the fact that somebody had to put that back together and had to take the time to reconstruct something.
There’s so much that I, from an artistic standpoint, that I don’t know, but I could experience it from holding that in my hands, and say: “Yes, and amen.” Like this is something that I feel like it resonates deeply, and I know that, even in our church community and in the practice, the more honest we can be in bringing forward who we really are with the cracks exposed, the more we find the freedom to still be a vessel that holds beautiful things for our life.
And, you know, I mean there are so many implications to that. There’s something for me that I thought of a couple of days ago during our prep for Easter. We were talking about when Jesus is on the cross and in the seven last words he says to John and to Mary, he says John, this is going to be your mother now and Mary you go home with John. And you think in that moment he was like putting together a new family structure, sending them out because they needed something like that.
What an incredible affirmation of like, he continues to pull things together and say, “you’re going to need each other. You’re going to need a home, you’re going to need a system to make this work.” And that’s the incarnational bit, right? He continues to affirm who we are. Our bodies, our…every little detail about the cracked bowl would say, like, this matters and not a Sparrow falls to the ground without the will of our father in heaven—without his attention on it. And I think that bowl really reminds me of that attention to detail and the renewal of all things.