“ For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”Ephesians 2:10
How a Rejected Block of Marble Became the World’s Most Famous Statue
Eastern College Australia had humble beginnings 30 years ago as Tabor Victoria God used “a man with a car and some books”, Dr Ian Richardson, to start a school in Fitzroy with just 6 students. Tabor went on a journey working out of demountable structures, Besser-block buildings and hired facilities at Ringwood and then Mulgrave.
A name-change to Eastern College Australia, was made. Awards were added to theology and ministry. The new areas of education, counselling, community development and youth work became our focus for Christ-centred Kingdom-focused vocational and higher education. Late last year we made perhaps our most momentous step in moving into partnership with MST- operating as two schools in one unified community. Reflecting on God’s faithfulness in our journey I was drawn to the story of the creation of the masterpiece of the statue of David.
At the start of the 16th century the Opera del Duomo, the officials in charge of the Florence cathedral had a tricky unfinished project on their hands. A document from 1501 refers to a barely begun statue, “a certain man of marble, named David, badly blocked out and laid on its back in the courtyard.” A statue of the Biblical hero who slayed the giant Goliath, had been ordered in 1464. This commission went to Agostino, and a huge slab of marble was extracted from the Carrara quarries in Tuscany, Italy. For unknown reasons he abandoned the project after doing only a little work. Another sculptor was hired in 1476, but he backed out almost immediately, citing the poor quality of the marble. Left without a sculptor but too expensive to throw away, the massive slab sat out exposed to the elements for a quarter century. In the summer of 1501 a new effort was made to find a sculptor who could finish the statue. 26-year-old sculptor Michelangelo was chosen and given two years to complete it. Early in the morning on September 13, 1501, the young artist got to work on the slab, extracting the figure of David in a miraculous process that the artist and writer Giorgio Vasari would later describe as “the bringing back to life of one who was dead.” In 1504, as Michelangelo finished his work, Florentine officials realised the statue was too heavy to place in its intended location on the roofline of the cathedral. A committee of artists, including Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, met and decided it should be placed at the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. In 1873 it was moved indoors to the Galleria dell’ Accademia in Florence and a replica was erected at the original site.
The work of creating a masterpiece is often marked by a journey with many twists and turns, failures and successes, pain and joy. As the Great Artist, God is bringing His Kingdom into focus in our world we are called to faithfully proclaim and live out the Gospel in all areas of life. There will be unexpected challenges and difficulties but also surprising joys and benefits. Partnering with MST to extend God’s Kingdom has been one of those surprising and joyful steps in the journey. Pray with us that God will continue to use Eastern as part of His great work in redeeming from the rough rock of this world the beautiful masterpiece of His Kingdom.