Sunday, December 17, 2006

Beauty Restored

I love beauty. But it can be marred. And so, would need restoration.

The beauty of "Pieta" in Vatican was violently damaged by evil a few years ago. A crazed man charged through the barriers and slammed it away with a hammer.

With the broken pieces of the "Pieta" on the floor, can this beautiful piece of art still be restored? When Adam and Eve, Moses, Abraham, Jonah, David, Peter, Paul, Mary Magdalene and others sinned and got broken, can their worlds still be rebuilt? In all of these cases, the answer is YES!

Art experts have restored "Pieta" so that it became more beautiful and the damage was no longer seen. The genius of Christ's Gospel is that broken humankind is also "rebuildable." God can restore the beauty and wholeness inside of us no matter how evil or badly our world has been damaged by past experiences. The Bible refers to it as our great hope. And it is available when we seek it through faith in Christ.

I find this legend from the sheep countries of England instructive about the process the Bible is referring to. Some hundreds of years ago, 2 men were arrested and convicted for stealing sheep. The judge sent them to prison for several years and decreed that the letter "S" be burned into their foreheads.

When the jail terms ended, one of the 2 left the area and was never heard from again. The 2nd one remained and dedicated his life to God. As the years passed, he served in the community, freely giving himself to aid people in sicknesses, family crises, and other life's difficulties. Soon no one remembered or spoke about the crime of sheep stealing he earlier committed.

The legend ended with 2 small boys conversing who knew nothing of this man's past. Looking at the aged man, one of the boys asked, "Why do you think he has an "S" on his forehead?" The other boy answered, "From what my Mom says about him, I think it must mean "Saint."

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