Are You Broken?

God made me into a masterpiece.  And yet, like the broken volcanic rock I’m standing on in this picture, I’m a broken masterpiece.

I’m a broken masterpiece who’s enamored with a kids movie.  When Hugo came out before Christmas I was blown away by its beauty, but as I’ve watched it again and again, I’ve seen the true elements of God’s grace and redemption weave their way through the story.

In the movie, Hugo Cabret, the main character, loves fixing things.  As the story progresses he realizes that everyone around him is broken. Just as Hugo realized that the people around him were inventions who needed fixed, I realized that fact is true to life.  We are all creations who have been broken.

I’ve been writing a lot about my recent mission trip to Guatemala.  During the first part of March 2012 I led a small team down to Xela (Quetzaltenango), Guatemala to help out with a vacation Bible school program and a high school and middle school retreat.

Now, if you have been following my blog you know that the week was quite an adventure.  You also know that you are God’s masterpiece.  You know that God created you for a reason.

But what happens when you mess up.  When you feel broken. Does God just toss us away?  Can we mess up so bad that even God wont take us back?

During the retreat, once we’d made it down to hotter than hell Reu, Guatemala, I asked my students if they knew what the word redemption meant.  We were packed into a small dining hall for games, worship, and a message.  Going along with the theme of creation I asked three boys to create something with Hot Tamales.  First they had to chew them up and then build something artistic.

The game failed.  I’m pretty sure all of the students were bored during the game, which wasn’t how I pictured it.  I’m glad it was just a game.  But then, somehow the games failure fit into my talk.  How often do our lives not go as planned.  If we are inventions we sure tend to break down a lot, and sometimes it’s our own fault.

In my last blog I talked about how God chose a little shepherd to be king of Israel.  David was the smallest in his family, but he had something God desired.  An open heart.  But let me tell you the rest of David’s story.  If he was a man after God’s own heart, he was also horribly broken.  Once David becomes king he stops following God’s plan for him.

If I think I’ve messed up, well at least I haven’t skipped out on God’s job for me so that I could commit adultery.  David did that.  But wait, there’s more.  David finds out he knocked up the woman he slept with, and wait, she’s married.  So, after he tries to pin the baby on her husband, which fails miserably, (as is what happens most of the time when we try to hide our mistakes) David has the man killed.  So, David has gone from a man after God’s own heart, to an adulterer, to a murderer.  I am sure when he woke up the morning before all this happened, he didn’t write on his to do list, sleep with a married woman and then kill her husband.

No.  We never plan on making mistakes.  As I shared this story of David with my students, I wanted them to realize that even great biblical figures mess up. If someone in the Bible screws up royally, then what does that mean for us normal folk?

And so I opened my Bible and shared with them how David responded to  God.  Yes, at first David hid from God, tried to cover up all his wrong doing, but then he does something us normal folk should do.  He admits his wrongs and asks God to redeem him.  In Psalm 51 verse 1-12 David writes:

1 Have mercy on me, O God,

The Cost of Redemption

according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

David was a broken invention.  God set him on a path to be king of Israel and David messes things up.  We are God’s masterpieces, but if you are like me you have messed up.  The first step to redemption is admitting to God how you messed up.

I have found that when I am open with my faults God tends to redeem them. Redemption doesn’t mean erasing all that we did wrong, but fixing what is broken.  Like David said, create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  He didn’t say take this all away as if it never happened, he asked for God to fix him.

That is exactly what God did on Easter through Jesus.  He sent Jesus to fix us.  But that can only happen if we admit that we’re broken and need someone to repair us.  If we do, our story will be as meaningful as Hugo’s, probably even more so.  Because when we are living out God’s plan for us our stories turn into grand adventures.

As I finished giving my message I prayed that each of the students would keep their heart open to God and know that, no matter what they’d done or will do, they could never separate themselves from God.

I hope you know that too.  That this Easter is a time to celebrate redemption.  I urge you to join me, and my dad, Eugene Scott, in Living Spiritually.  We have set this year and hopefully our lives to keeping our eyes and our hearts open to God.  It has been an adventure so far and it would be amazing if you joined us.

How Magical Is Our World: A Review of Hugo

“My friends, I address you tonight as you truly are; wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, magicians . . . Come and dream with me,” Georges Méliés

Hugo

Are we ever too old to dream?

How young is too young to want to feel important?

Does everyone, and everything, have a purpose?

Hugo, the Martin Scorsese film nominated for best picture this year (and my favorite to win it), tells the story of a young boy, Hugo, who for mysterious reasons, is living inside the walls of one of Paris’s grand train stations.  Hugo Cabret spends his time keeping time, literally.  Like the clocks he keeps, this little boy has a purpose.  He is in charge of keeping the many intricately made clocks in the station running on time.  And like each one of those clocks, which are made out of thousands of pieces, each one just as important as the other, Hugo has a purpose in the intricately made universe.  However, Hugo has dreams of a grander life than that of a clock keeper.

Like a clock who has lost its main cog, Hugo is broken; he’s lost his family.  However, Hugo believes he’s been given what he needs to be fixed; a broken automaton (a miniature machine made to look like a man, that in the movie can write messages).  He believes that by fixing the automaton, which is his last connection to his father, he will find a message from his father.

Like the broken automaton, Hugo needs fixed to fulfill his true purpose.  And I am going to step out  on a ledge here, just as clocks need fixed to tell time, just as Hugo needs fixed to become more than just a clock keeper, each person in the human race needs fixed.   Each person needs something to realize that they are a part of something grander and only Christ can take us on the true grand adventure.

Stuck inside the walls of the train station Hugo Cabret is as broken as the automaton he is trying to fix.  And yet in his brokenness, Hugo believes his purpose is greater than just keeping time, he believes he has a grand purpose in the world.  All Hugo needs to do to attain that greater purpose is fix his broken automaton, but like any good story as he fixes the automaton Hugo’s life becomes more complicated.

Spoiler:

In Hugo’s quest to fix the automaton he finds friendship.  Hugo’s story delves deeper than the quest to fix a machine.  And in the dramatic scene where he fixes the automaton, something magical happens, Hugo expects to find a message from his father, unfortunately he’s let down.  But in that moment of despair, Hugo doesn’t find the message he is looking for, but he finds what he really needs, friends and freedom from his cell of a train station.

How often in life, in our own stories, are our expectations not met, but we actually find what we need?

The message Hugo receives from the automaton draws him into a greater, grander story.  A magical story of brokenness and eventually healing.

No, we are not too old to dream.  No, age does not define importance.  Yes, we all have a purpose!

The movie hit me hard.  Our world is magical, just as there was a grander purpose for Hugo and his automaton, we all have a grander purpose.  In the every day happenings of our lives, there is something bigger going on.  Like Georges Méliés, an old toy maker in the movie who reluctantly befriends Hugo, says, we are all wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers,  and magicians.  We are all greater than we often give ourselves credit for and we have a grander purpose than we live for.  We are children of our creator and when we connect to him we find freedom.  He made us intricatly and then he sent us his son to fix us, to give us the message were are looking for.   The message of love and hope.

Our world is magical so why not open your eyes and dream magically.

I have decided to look for the magic, for God, in my every day.  I have talked about this in my living spiritually blogs.  I challenge you to do this with me.  As Hugo’s friend Isabelle says,”we might get in trouble,” but as Hugo responds, “That’s how you know it’s an adventure.”