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Resurrection and Redeeming Lost Causes

by David Jordan

I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.  The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:21-24).

It was 1502 in Florence, Italy, and an immense block of marble stood in the Santa Maria del Fiore church.  It was a stone ready to be beautiful. Sadly, some undiscerning craftsman had carved out a large hole through the very place where a figure’s legs should have gone. Piero Soderini, the mayor of Florence, sought several artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, to save the piece. However, each agreed in turn that the lovely marble had been mutilated. What could have been art appeared beyond redemption.

And then there was Michelangelo.  Hearing of this piece, he traveled to Florence.  After examining the marble, he had an idea.  He envisioned a reconfigured posture. Adapting the pose of the figure around the hole, he saw magnificence where other only imagined failure.

From this soon-to-be-discarded marble, Michelangelo created a young David, sling in hand, leaning slightly, and strikingly beautiful. Thus, the stone that was rejected by others was made a masterpiece, transformed by the hands of a master.[1]

This is the theme of Jesus, the theme the gospel writers want us to remember: Jesus was despised and rejected.  And yet, God transforms rejection into redemption so that the tragedy of the cross becomes the cornerstone of faith.  This same theme replays itself in lives just like yours and mine. Lost causes continue to be redeemed. Rejected stones keep being made beautiful. Languishing lives rise up to laugh with sounds of joy once more.

In the coming days, listen carefully to the good news of Jesus: in Jerusalem, just outside the city walls, another stone, rolled away, revealed an empty tomb. New possibilities for you and me continue. God remains in the resurrection business where even rejection can be redeemed – and made lovely. As the psalmist says:

This is the Lord’s doing. And it is marvelous in our eyes.

Happy Easter everyone.


Lord, remind me again of your redeeming, transforming power.  You are making something beautiful of my life.  Allow me the patience to wait, the wisdom to know, and the confidence to live with courage in the meantime.  May the spring that surrounds me awaken anew the joy of your salvation and the reality of resurrection.


[1] This story is related in The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green.  This “David” stands in marked contrast to the other more famous and earlier “David” sculpted 1502-04 now in Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia.


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