Famous Landmarks

This is a picture of the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy; the famous bell tower that took 177 years to build.   It was completed in 1173 by a man named Bonanono Pizanno.  In retrospect, It took so long to complete this tower because the city was constantly at war with their neighbors.

This tower has a great history.   Galileo was said to have climbed the 294 steps and dropped two cannon balls of different masses to determine whether the speed of their fall depending on their weight.

And then there was story of a US Army Sergeant during World War two.  

 His commanders told him to take out the tower with an Artillery strike,…but after scouting it out, and realizing what a treasure it was,…he couldn’t do it.   Instead he chose to ignore his commander’s orders.   In fact he lied, and said he destroyed it.   The war ended two days later.   

Sadly the sergeant faced a court martial for failing to follow orders.

There is also a neat aspect of the tower.    Almost immediately after it was constructed it started to lean.    For centuries, the city of Pisa blamed poor construction, and its top heavy design.

In the Eighties, the government of Italy offered a million dollar award to any designer who could stop the lean.   They figured that by the time I was 100, it would topple and be destroyed.

Over the next twenty years all types of designs came up for review.   Some called for building giant struts and braces along the base of the tower.   Ultimately, none were approved because the judges felt that the solution took away from the beauty of the tower.   

The best solution they could come up with was to install 800 tons of counterweights to slow the tilt.   Unfortunately it didn’t work,…and actually sped the lean up.

It wasn’t long before people started feeling resigned to the eventual fall of the building.   By the year 2000, the tower was leaning a full 5 degrees, and growing quicker than anyone could imagine.

Then, a group of students took on the task of saving the tower…After studying the construction and the condition of the tower,…they realized it wasn’t either of these things…   Instead they discovered it was the land on which the tower stood.

They closed the tower for several years and started on supporting the ground.   They brought soil, laid supports, and worked to correct what little tilt they could.    After several years, they had fixed the problem.   They had stopped its tilt, and experts agree that now the tower will be here for a thousand more years.

Ultimately the tower wasn’t the problem….the problem was the foundation it stood.

Even the most incredible, the most perfectly designed structures will crumble if they are not built upon sturdy ground.

The same is true for our faith.    The people we can become sturdier and more secure if we are sure to build our lives on a good foundation.

A little over a month ago, we celebrated Christmas….and for us that is one of the two moments in our faith that forms our foundation.   The second is Easter.    Christmas is the moment when we are reminded that God became human, and arrived at the most humble and lowly of places so that we could learn the way that we should live and act.    Easter reminds us that he was right.

In each moment we learn that our King was a different type of King, who would reach out to us in the way that we needed him most.    These moments change everything.

Now that Christmas has come and gone, and Easter is fast approaching, we need to never lose sight of the fact that all we do as his followers…   All the service,…all the praise….all the prayers….   Are meant to say thank you to a God who would reach out to each of us like that.       Its these momentsthat is our foundation,…and that keeps us from toppling.

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