Restoration-Returned To Our Original Identity and Purpose

 

Rev. Dr. Robert Newton

Restoration-Returned To Our Original Identity and Purpose

Rev. Dr. Robert Newton

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ has reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

 

Restoration is serious business.  I recently found a website of a French craftsman, who specializes in restoring antique furniture and other heirlooms. The website states, “Jean-Jacques Bernard takes great pride in his history of meeting and exceeding his client’s expectations, while maintaining the integrity of the original woodwork.”  The words, “while maintaining the integrity of the original woodwork” caught my eye.  This emphasis is so important to Mr. Bernard that he personally subscribes to the “French Charter of Restoration for Antique Furniture.” The charter’s objectives state: Each article has a separate existence and must be considered in its entirety.  It has a history – its original shape, the materials it is made of and information about the technology used to manufacture it.  The responsibilities of the restorer [are several]:  to protect the article, restore it to its true form, help understand it and therefore ascertain that its aesthetical and historical tenor survive.

Under the rules that govern the restorer’s relationship with the article we read:

Any intervention means a modification of the article.  The restorer must abide by the physical, historical, and aesthetical entirety of the article on which he works.

It is contrary to the ethics of restoration to modify or hide the true reality of an article.

In short, Jean-Jacques Bernard’s craft as a “restorer” requires (1) that he appreciate each article as unique, a one of a kind, (2) that he ‘know’ the article by learning everything he can about it, and (3) that he bring the article back to the original design and purpose of its creator.  In doing those things he will bring great joy to the present owner.

The website goes on to tell about a 150 year old clock, a family heirloom of incredible value.  It fell from the wall one evening and was smashed to pieces.  The owner swept all of the broken pieces that he could find into a bag and brought them to Jean-Jacques in hopes that he might be able to salvage any of it.  A few weeks later he returned to Jean-Jacques’ shop to find the heirloom completely restored and in perfect running order.  He exclaimed, “It’s incredible!  You’re a magician!”

King David found great joy and comfort in the “magic touch” of God on his own life:  “The Lord is my shepherd . . . He restores my soul.”   He understood that God had sought him out when he was lost and restored his broken soul to be whole once again.  Being a shepherd, David also knew that it was impossible to restore himself.  So many times he had gone searching after lost sheep only to find them in completely helpless situations.  It was up to him alone to save the young lamb’s life.

Likewise with you and me.  It’s completely impossible for us to restore ourselves to what God originally intended us to be.  Try as long and as hard as we might, it’s not going to happen.  For us to be restored to what we were meant to be, we must be restored to our God, since our life and purpose are wrapped up in Him.  Thus the prophet’s prayer, “Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored!”

St. Paul tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ has reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”  Jesus made us new again–that is, He gave us back ourselves–by bringing us back to Himself.  He took our lives and purpose, broken by sin into a million pieces, and made them new again in Himself.  Like Jean-Jacques Bernard, Jesus appreciates each of us as unique.  He knows us perfectly and completely, and is determined that everything He intended for us to be and do will not be lost.  His healing touch restores each of us to the original design and purpose of why He made us.  In so doing He brings great joy to the owner-God Himself.

An essential part of that “wholeness” is that we are in “perfect running order,” that is, we are back in the service of our Lord.  Our service is not one of hanging on a wall in our Father’s house, keeping perfect time.  Rather, He has given us the ministry of restoring others just as we’ve been restored.  He knows that such work will give as much joy to us as it does to Him.

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