Reprinted With The Permission of Darrel Weaver
Christmas Letter 2019
One thing that many of you may not know about me is that my wife and I enjoy travelling together. In fact, the only Christmas gift we give each other is a special
trip sometime during the year
This year we are especially happy as our trip will be to Europe where we will spend some time in Florence Italy. I am so excited to go there as this is where the Dark Ages ended, where the Renaissance was born, so much art and history to be found there. When doing my pre-trip research to make sure we see it all, I discovered this is where Michelangelo lived and worked. One of the greatest artists ever- the Master.
In fact, the statue considered to be his greatest work and the most famous statue in the world- David- is there on display.
Important premise— art is not simply a static depiction of something, but done correctly, it should tell a story. This statue did indeed have a story to tell.
First- this thing is huge! It is 17 feet tall! I always pictured it as normal person size but it is not. Michelangelo intentionally wanted this size to depict the importance of David to our culture and history and how trusting God can allow us to overcome insurmountable obstacles.
An insurmountable obstacle is fact number two- this is David just prior to killing Goliath. I had never realized the object in David’s left hand is the slingshot he used to take down Goliath. Most other sculptors of the days depicted a victorious David holding a sword and Goliath’s severed head. Michelangelo wanted us to see a pre-fight David (nude to demonstrate no physical protection) quietly contemplating how with only this small slingshot and God’s assurance, he will be able to bring down the killing machine known as Goliath.
The last fact is the most incredible. Michelangelo was the third sculptor to be offered the job. The block of marble laid untouched for over 25 years outside the church that commissioned the statue. First one, then another “expert” artist was hired who then declared the marble was flawed and couldn’t be used for a project like this.
Michelangelo looked past the flaws and took on the task. Over 4 years, he used a hammer and a series of chisels to create what we see here. Some flaws were discarded in materials that were chipped away. Other flaws instead of being discarded, were transformed into features. Discolorations in the marble became shadows or were used to accentuate a body feature. Cracks could be used to define muscles- the definition of turning a weakness into a strength. The final product is now the most famous statue in the world! All from a block of granite that experts considered worthless.
You know, we all are deeply flawed too. We have to be, we’re human. Many of us have waited a lot longer than 25 years to have those flaws addressed, or have hidden them as deeply as possible, or even consulted “experts”- only to be disappointed. Some of us may even think of ourselves as worthless, like that shapeless block of granite, full of cracks and flaws, laying horizontal on the ground.
2,019 years ago, THE Master was born to work with us just as we are. If you let him, he can remove problems. Some problems are so part of who we are, they shouldn’t be removed, but can be transformed into an asset- something that helps define a story that others need to see or hear. Weakness turned into strength. Tragedy into hope. Darkness into light- remember shadows help define the light.
So I pray two things for all of you this year. First that you will not listen to “experts” who have their own agendas and use their biased version of reality to grade you. Second and most important is that The Master recreates each of you into your own version of the world’s most famous statue. A you where the things you aren’t proud of, the problems you’ve worked so hard to hide from others, those things that make you feel worthless, have all become proud and perfect expressions of the uniqueness of you, and the story you are here to tell- a story that someone else may desperately need to hear.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Weaver’s