The Portland Vase
I read a little article recently which I found quite fascinating. In the British Museum there is a priceless antique called the Portland Vase. If you look closely at it, you can see cracks all over its surface ........ an obvious sign of a rebuild job. It seems that the vase was given to the King of England by the Duke of Norfolk and the King placed it in the Museum for all to share its beauty.
It turns out that the old Duke had a disgruntled servant who wanted to get back at him. So he planned a nice piece of revenge by smashing the vase. He went to the Museum, and when the coast was clear, he took the vase from the stand and threw it to the ground. To all who saw the vase, it seemed broken beyond repair.
Of course, things aren't always what they seem. Every piece was saved and a relative of the original creator of the vase was brought from the north of Scotland to rebuild it. For months he worked rebuilding the vase from a pile of broken fragments, reshaping this beautiful work of art.
Two thousand years ago the creator of the universe set out on a repair job on a tiny planet called earth. He set aside his glory and took upon himself humanity. He became one with us. Picking up the pieces of broken humanity, he began the task of restoring his beautiful creation. Even today the master craftsman is still at work.
Our problem is that we are often unaware of the rebuild job that is going on all around us, and particularly in our lives. We see only the cracks, or worse, the shattered pieces on the ground. We don't see the big picture, we don't see the pieces already shaped together. Our view is of the mess rather than the restoration work, or even the intended final product.
The trick is to live with one eye on the finished product. Life is filled with limitations, pains and problems. The troubles of the day often obscure the glory of the age to come. We simply forget that "death has lost its sting." When this happens we are doing nothing more than focussing on the shattered vase rather than the repairs.
Of course, our Lord's intentions for restored humanity transcend the limitations of the moment. If you like, his plans involve a new and even better vase.