Bertel Thorvaldsen
STRENGTH FOR TODAY - Dr. Harold J. Sala (The Philippine Star) - September 2, 2018 - 12:00am

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem... and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator?of a new covenant. – Hebrews 12:22-24

Bertel Thorvaldsen was Denmark’s greatest sculptor and probably one of the greatest men ever to lift a hammer and chisel. Today, any visitor to Copenhagen would be shortchanged without a visit to see Thorvaldsen’s Christ and the Twelve Apostles in two locations there.

The first location is the Thorvaldsen Museum, where you’ll see the images of Christ and the Twelve Apostles, with Paul taking the place of Judas. But you’ll also find them in the Cathedral, only a short distance away. While the museum figurines are beautiful, they cannot be compared with the ones in the Cathedral.

Those in the museum are gray and discolored; the ones in the Cathedral are pure white. Why two sets? Visitors are told that those found in the museum are made of clay, which eventually absorbs dust and dirt and the oil and residue of the city. That, in turn, causes the composition to gradually turn putty gray. Those in the cathedral are made of pure marble, which will probably stay beautiful for centuries.

When I visit a museum I generally don’t look for a moral or hidden truth, but as I compared both sets of figurines, I couldn’t help but ponder how Hebrews speaks of the church on earth and the one in heaven. One is made of clay and the other, the dross and clay removed, made of marble.

There’s one thing to be said for clay though. Clay is malleable in the hand of the sculptor, while marble is hard to work with. And so at times, God molds us with His hands; at other times, He takes the chisel to His workmanship to bring us into conformity with His plan.

Saints are made of clay. Eventually, having stood the test of time, however, saints find their marble counterparts in heaven. Think about that the next time a clay disciple disappoints you.

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Used with permission from Guidelines International Ministries. To learn more about Guidelines and the ministry, send an e-mail to You may also visit

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