Monday, April 20, 2009

Just an ordinary girl

She was just an ordinary girl. In many ways her life was unremarkable. No-one has written great volumes about her life, what she did, who she married, and what she achieved. In fact very few people know her real name - Gherardini – but everyone recognizes her.

She lived a long time ago, at a time of change and development in the history of the world. Perhaps she reflected on life and occasionally her face would brighten with an enigmatic smile.

Yet her name is known by everyone, and everyone knows her. Her image is drawn on canvass and hangs in the Louvre museum in Paris. There, amidst the great masterpieces by Van Gogh, Rodin, the great Impressionists – each of which is worth millions of dollars, all of them bigger and grander – there hangs one picture which stands metaphorically above all the others.

It is the one around which the crowds gather, it is the pinnacle of the multi-million dollar collection; it is the only one in its own protective casing – it is, of course, the portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci of the Mona Lisa.

She lived an unremarkable life, coming from a middle class background, but her personality and image were captured by the hands of the Master. He transformed her portrait into the most famous painting in the world. She was in fact Lisa Gherardini, the wife of wealthy Florentine businessman Francesco del Giocondo.

One writer says “The Mona Lisa is widely considered the greatest portrait of all time. It appears in countless advertisements, has inspired poetry, sculpture, forgeries, and theft. But seriously, why? The painting is small, only 30 x 21 inches, the colour is sombre, the background seems desolate and eerie, and the subject isn’t anyone historically significant.”

And yet … she is significant.

She is significant because the great artist captured her portrait. He gave meaning to her life for the rest of the world to see. Her enigmatic smile, the gaze of her eyes and her face present an image we cannot forget. Somehow the more we look at her the more we see. And yet the more see the more enigmatic she seems.

Our lives may seem ordinary, and perhaps insignificant, but in the hands of the Master they can become lives of great significance. God, the creator, the master artist and painter can form and shape your life and mine into a portrait of great significance. He will take the various aspects of our lives, and use them to paint a wonderful portrait.

There's a God-shaped hole in all of us. And God can turn our ordinary life into something extraordinary, a significant life.

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