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Restored Sistine Chapel Reveals Maker's True Splendor

The Sistine Chapel is one of the true jewels of world art. After spending four years painting it, Michelangelo finished his masterpiece in 1512, and the chapel went into daily use. In those days the only light source came from candles. As candles burned year after year, the soot began to rise to the ceiling, obscuring the paintings. After over 400 years of soot, grime, and dust collecting on the ceiling, the original art had to be restored. So a team of restorative artists worked on the Sistine Chapel from 1984-1999 until the monochrome colors were restored to their original beauty.

Prior to the restoration process, many in the art community thought that Michelangelo was a genius at composition. After all, how did he think to have Adam's hand stretching out, yearning to find the finger of God, which was already reaching out for him? But it was also widely-believed that Michelangelo's coloration was mediocre. It was too dark, monochromatic, and blah. And yet when they restored those frescoes to their original state, everyone could see the beautiful, fresh, and even spring-like colors—pale pink, apple green, vivid yellow, and sky blue against a background of warm pearly grey. When the maker's true brilliance and goodness were revealed, people had to change their assumptions about Michelangelo.

In a similar way, for many us, over the years the soot, grime, and dust of daily life have obscured our vision of God's goodness. God's character seems blah, mediocre, and maybe even dark. We no longer feel and deeply believe that through Christ we have a good Father. Through the Word of God, the Spirit's presence, and the love of other Christians, God begins a work of restoration so we can see the true colors of his brilliant goodness.

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