The nicest show on TV
Perhaps the nicest show on television has been screening here in New Zealand this year. The Repair Shop is a British show where people take their old worn-down family heirlooms to be fixed by a team of tender, loving and expert craftspeople.
In this hectic world of fast fashion and disposable bargains, The Repair Shop celebrates resilience and hand-crafted brilliance, as the experts repair wonky typewriters and 19th century firefighter helmets and radios that survived Dunkirk. The restorers work slowly and patiently, quietly fixing the world, one beautiful thing at a time.
It’s the stories that count
But beyond the items themselves, it is the human stories that make The Repair Shop such a beautiful watch. Every item has a backstory that makes it come alive, taking us back into the history of families and events that give the show its soul. They might not look pretty or be worth a lot of cash, but there is an emotional connection in The Repair Shop that money cannot buy.
Every episode of The Repair Shop ends in tears, both the tears of those who see their stories brought back to life, and mine, as I witness the emotion of connection and restoration.
The patience of restoration
What is heart-warming in The Repair Shop is the craftspeople themselves. They hold every one of the treasures they encounter in their heart; there is no judgement, nothing is too difficult, no story is rendered too demanding to embrace and no problem is too big to solve. Their quiet resolve to bring new life to the old and broken is unwavering.
May there be more shows on television like The Repair Shop.
The connection to God
Of course the undertones and link to the Christian narrative is perhaps what I find the most emotional about The Repair Shop; this programme that is designed to entertain could be a heart-warmingly graphic picture of what the Gospel story portrays to us.
We know that we’re a broken story, damaged long ago when our ancestors thought they could do life without their Creator, and since that point we’ve struggled to enjoy the new life that was so freely offered to us in the paradise of the garden that was created for us to enjoy.
The master craftsman
God the Father knew that we would be broken, so He made a plan to send us to The Repair Shop, and he sent a skilled craftsman to be our healer, our restorer, to bring new life to that which was broken, tainted, despairing. The Gospel stories recount the narrative of Jesus, fully human and yet fully divine, an eternal mystery going to the cross and rising again so that we may be not only forgiven of our selfishness, but so we may enjoy the life we were designed to live, life to the full as Jesus says in john Chapter 10 Verse 10.
The master craftsman, God the Father, bears all the hallmarks, and more, of the craftsmen we see in The Repair Shop. Perennially patient, skilled in every way, slow and delicate in the transformation of our lives, allowing His Spirit to chip away at our faded and chipped character so that we can become who we were created to be.
Journey to The Repair Shop
I can’t help but thinking that The Repair Shop is an excellent way to portray the church in a time when we need to be creative and contemporary about how we portray the work of God in our world, particularly for us in New Zealand as we chart our way through the post-COVID19 world.
Knowing that restoration is totally possible with God the craftsman, let’s think holistically about how we might encourage people to bring their lives to the eternal Repair Shop, to be restored in a way that will last for eternity, where rust and moth will not destroy.
Perhaps if we sensitively love God and love our neighbours as ourselves, others might see The Repair Shop (aka the local church) as being a story worth embracing and worth bringing their lives too.
It could just be a great show to be part of.
Grant Harris is a reformed banker who has been the Senior Pastor of Windsor Park Baptist Church in Auckland, New Zealand, for eleven years. Grant’s passionate about seeing people catch a glimpse of who they are in Christ and living out the difference that makes. He’s tried living according to the patterns of this world and found that those patterns came up short. He’s still a work-in-progress and always will be. You can contact Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.