Our family just returned from vacation and one of the books that I read was Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel. It describes the effort to preserve significant artwork and culturally significant sites during the devastation of WWII. A handful of art experts and conservators joined the army. They were older and not your typical soldiers. But they worked tirelessly in the midst of the fighting to preserve the history and the culture of Europe.
The Bayeux Tapestry was one such piece. It dates back to the 11th century and depicts over fifty scenes leading up to the Norman conquest of England. It is one of the clearest depictions of life during that period. It is 230 feet long and survived over nine centuries. On June 27, 1944 the German Gestapo took possession of the tapestry. But as the war drew to a close, it was recovered and secured by the monuments men.
Shortly after the official close of the war, the tapestry was put on display at the Louvre museum in Paris. In the midst of all of the rubble and grief, it became a powerful symbol of hope. Many American soldiers were deeply moved as they visited the Louvre before heading back home. They realized that they were not only fighting the tyranny of Nazi Germany but they were fighting to preserve a way of life for the people of Europe.
I couldn’t help but think that we as the church are “monument men and women.” We live in a culture that is marred by strife. In recent weeks, we have been reminded of the racial tensions and the fear of terrorism. But in the midst of the rubble, we put the gospel on display week after week. We gather and proclaim the hope of the world through the work of Jesus Christ. We remind ourselves and others that evil will not triumph. How are you doing with this task? Have you been careful to preserve the gospel in all of its beauty and clarity? Have you put the treasure of the gospel on display so it can be clearly seen?
Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Monuments_Men_Congressional_Gold_Medal_(reverse).jpg