This week’s article is by Pastor Don Long of Godfrey First United Methodist Church.
I watched a “NOVA” the other night about the intriguing story of Florence, Italy’s, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore — “the Duomo.”
The dome that sits atop the cathedral is a towering masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and is said to be an enduring source of mystery. With this work, Filippo Brunelleschi, a secretive architect, achieved something technology should not have permitted at the time. It is a feat the like of which has not been repeated since. The dome is made up of 4 million bricks, weighing more than 40,000 tons, and is the largest masonry dome the world has ever known. The interior spans more than half the length of a football field and is more than 10 stories high. The structure, which took 140 years to complete — 16 years for the dome itself — is said to be so impressive it’s like a work of God himself.
I thought of Jesus’ words while watching this program. He said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). His remark followed shortly after a man asked what good thing he must do to get eternal life. Jesus told him, in order to be perfect, he must sell all his possessions and give to the poor, and then follow Him. The man who was rich went away sad. We don’t know why, exactly, but I suspect it had something to do with the personal impossibility of this; the man’s wealth represented his life’s work, his value and security.
Jesus also said we must deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow (Luke 9:23). Brunelleschi left nothing behind: no records of his life, no portraits, no wealth, no monuments to himself, hence the identity as the “secretive architect;” only the great dome of God’s house, and a few others works remain, and each proclaims the wonder of God. It’s as if his life was “like a work of God himself.” What about your life? To whom does your life’s work bear witness?