No matter what happens or how bad things get, you are always a beloved child of God and you always have potential, said spiritual life director Gord Park at this week's chapel.
Park told the students about his father-in-law's habit of picking up old junk and bringing it home.
He'll be walking along or driving along and he'll see something that's been discarded and he'll say "How can people throw this away?" Park said. "Often he brings it to my house — because his house is full. It drives us crazy, but we love him."
One day his father-in-law found a busted-up guitar, smashed to bits. It was so damaged it was almost unrecognizable as a guitar, Park said. Sure enough, he showed up on the Park's doorstep with the mangled instrument.
"I saw this in the garbage," his father-in-law said. "I know you're in a band and I know you teach drama, maybe you can use it for a prop. What do you think?"
"What do I think?" Park confided to the students. "I am thinking I am going to throw it away, but I am going to wait the obligatory four or five months until he stops asking about it."
But that's not what happened.
Instead, Park took the banged-up instrument to a buddy in his band, who has a friend who fixes guitars. When that friend saw the guitar and saw how damaged it was, he asked: "What is this? A test?"
Yet, only two weeks later the buddy opened his trunk and pulled out a guitar, beautifully refurbished and restrung.
"It looked like this," Park said, holding up the very guitar he had used that morning to lead the students in worship.
Park said the journey taken by the guitar -- from garbage heap to leading worship -- via a father, a son, and a devoted craftsperson, is a journey that people sometimes take too.
"The guitar looked like a piece of junk, lying on the side of the road," Park said, "but what the father sees is not a piece of junk, he sees what it was meant to be."
An instrument that appeared to have been smashed in anger and which looked like it could never again do what it was created to do, is handed from a father to a son because the father thinks it's important to him.
"The son takes a-hold of it and puts it in the hands of a master craftsman," Park said, "and it ends up leading some awesome kids in worship."
There are times when things happen that can make us think we are too broken to be fixed, Park said, or that make us believe we have caused too much damage for things ever to be restored.
"But there is a father who loves you, a son who sees you as special and a spirit who comes and heals," he said.
"You are never too broken to be fixed. You are never beyond hope, you can never go beyond a place where you cannot be made whole, where you cannot be what you were created to be."
No matter what happens, no matter what you do and no matter what goes wrong "God will always love you, God will always reclaim you, God will always be with you," he said.
Neale Robb then read a passage from John 21, where Jesus gives his disciple, Peter, an opportunity to restore the relationship he damaged through betrayal.
"Peter thought he had blown it for good, but Jesus had a job for him to do," Robb said.
He then prayed that God would "help us to recognize today how much you love us. Help us allow you to work in our lives and to fashion us more and more into the image of Christ," he prayed. "Use us to be a blessing to those around us."