District | South East

 

 

Today’s entry in the Theologian’s Almanac by saltproject.org, reminds us that on September 8, 1504, (516 years ago!) Michelangelo unveiled his astonishing sculpture, David.  Some four decades earlier, a colossal, misshapen block of marble - more than 19 feet high - was imperfectly quarried and then delivered to the sculptor Agostino di Duccio, along with the commission to create a biblical figure for one of the buttresses of a Florence cathedral.  The block was unwieldy, and Duccio gave up after a rough attempt at carving some feet and legs; the commission then passed on to Antonio Rossellino, who also conceded defeat. The abandoned slab lay in a field in Florence for thirty years; locals dubbed it “the Giant.”  When church authorities revived the project in 1501, the commission went to the young, ambitious Michelangelo - who promptly built a shed around “the Giant” and got to work. When the sculpture was at last unveiled for public viewing, it must have seemed a miracle: the dirty, twisted Giant had become an elegant, beautiful man, the ancient Shepherd King of Israel.  Michelangelo didn’t battle the block’s imperfect dimensions, but rather used them to create the figure’s signature pose. He later said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” And again: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
 
This week of the Labor Day holiday, it feels like we who love the church are in the throes of such endless labor over the unwieldy block of stone that encases her.  We are struggling to learn new ways to use technology. We are struggling to provide community and pastoral care for emotionally and spiritually weary people while also caring for the health of our physical bodies.  We are struggling to be faithful amid fear of unemployment, anxiety over how to best educate our children, and mounting tension as a government election looms.  Yet, God in whom we place our trust is the Creator, who brought all things into existence from the seemingly impenetrable darkness of a formless void.  God is still creating, still speaking, “Let there be…,” and still forming the church. That block of stone meant to buttress the old form of a cathedral became a new creation introducing millions of people outside the church to the biblical witness of David.  So, from what now seems a formless, unwieldy, giant block of stone is coming the new creation of the church, ready to be discovered by those who will pray and work alongside the Holy Spirit to set her free for a fresh expression of love and grace. 
 
Blessings in the discovery,

District Superintendent

 

Greg Porterfield
706-589-5650
greg.porterfield@ngumc.net

Mission Specialist

Beth Sanders
404-285-7207
beth.sanders@ngumc.net

Administrative Assistant

Tina Lancaster
(706) 651-8621
southeast@ngumc.net

Contact Information

Office Address:
3332 West Cliffe Court
Augusta, GA 30907

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 204600
Augusta, GA 30917

(706) 651-8621 Phone

southeast@ngumc.net
http://www.ngumc.org/southeast