In a Copenhagen cathedral there is a statue of Christ by noted sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. When Thorvaldsen first completed the work he was quite satisfied. It was a sculpture of Christ with face and arms lifted up to heaven, a majestic conquering image just as he hoped.
But during the night, while the stature had been left for the clay to harden, the moist sea air did something unexpected. The clay softened so the head and arms sagged and drooped down. The next morning the sculptor was horrified to see what happened to his majestic image, but as he studied it, he considered this may be a truer picture of the way Christ conquers. Christ was now looking down toward people with arms reaching out as if to embrace them. He kept the reformed image and inscribed on the bottom of it, “Come Unto Me,” and the statue continues to inspire visitors. You can see the statue here.
Maybe it’s fair to say that God sent Jesus into the world to teach us to look up to God, but it’s fairer to say that Jesus comes to let us know God is looking down toward us, reaching out to hold us. This is Ecclesiology 101 (which has to do with our belief about church). Before being called to believe the right things, the church is to be a community that helps people know God cares about them and desires to be close to them. We will consider this further in the message this Sunday as we think about why community is so important in our Christian practice.
This is also a good thought as we look ahead toward the end of the season of Lent, Easter, the biggest Sunday of the year for churches. There is never a better time to invite people to St. Luke’s and allow others to experience the hope of knowing God’s love is real and it is for them! You are doing such an amazing job of living out our “2020 in 2020” goal. We are experiencing an amazing rise in new visitors each Sunday. Keep it up! And keep inviting! Let’s help as many as possible know there is a Savior who says to them, “Come unto me!” And realize, that what feels like a mistake to us is, in God’s hands, an opportunity for glory to be revealed.