It’s a 125-foot statue of Jesus that looks down on the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and its harbour. If you go to Google Images, you’ll find many stunning photos of this wonder of the world. For many years, its beauty has held a sacred spot in some nook of my brain, but TV coverage of the World Cup has moved it to front and centre.
Christ the Redeemer draws forth a spirit from me. Words stop and I just look. I don’t analyze and I don’t compare. Having said that, I guess that what I’m about to say is creating words and suggesting an analysis. But whatever I say will fall short of the silence. That’s okay. I’ll just point to something that’s very, very big.
Jesus stands tall. He’s erect but without strain. He’s reaching his full height. I can live an upright life as well, neither swaying to the left nor right, as the world presses me to. I can be morally true, responding to others in ways that honour their being.
Jesus holds his arms out wide, his fingers gently extended, apparently needing no effort to hold the pose. Horizontal. I too can be level in my life, treating all people with the same respect, compassion and love. No one better and no one worse.
Jesus bows his head, not pushing himself forward. Instead, “I bow to the divine in you.” I am not inferior to you, nor superior. I’m not even “equal”. You and I are simply waves on the ocean, one no more wet than the other.
Although I’m not sure, I thinks that Jesus’ eyes are closed, so that he can touch a power beyond, and bring it back to us frail residents of planet Earth. I close my eyes in meditation, bringing forth something beyond space and time.
Thank you to Heitor da Silva Costa for designing the statue, and to Paul Landowski for sculpting it. Their work is a gift to all human beings, of any religion or none.