Weekend Thought by John Clark

PERHAPS the most famous statue of Christ is that of Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro.

It had stood unattended for decades and was getting very grimy. A campaign was started to clean it up.

Many companies contributed to the cause. A large banner was put across the base of the statue by the Shell petroleum company. I’m not sure if the irony was intended but the banner read “Save the Christ”!

Another statue was being erected in the poverty stricken northeast of Brazil.

Two towns had become very prosperous at the expense of pilgrims. One had an enormous statue to St Francis and the other to a local, uncanonised saint of the people, Padre Cicero.

The mayor of a neighbouring town decided to bring some of this prosperity to his town and started to build a statue to St Anthony, the patron saint of lovers.

Unfortunately he ran out of money before he could finish it. The headless statue stood overlooking the town and the head, the size of a small house, lay in a poor part of town, a plaything for local children.

Christ triumphant stood over a globe in a square outside the cathedral in Managua. It was perhaps unfortunate that Christ’s right foot was right over Central America.

When a terrible earthquake struck killing thousands and leaving nearly a quarter of a million homeless, the statue toppled and shattered into thousands of pieces. Immediately a campaign was started to rebuild the statue. No mention was made of the injured or the homeless.

That night a local pastor went on the radio and made this appeal: ”Leave Christ where he wants to be: not towering over the poor of Central America, trampling their faces into the dust, but broken and suffering among them”.