The Four Prisoners or slaves, as they are called, are massive sculptures in various phases of completion. Intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo was commissioned in 1505 and began the work. Before it was completed, the project was defunded.

[Photo from Academia Gallery in Florence]

Some argue that he intentionally didn’t complete them. The Academia’s website says: “As we see them, in various stages of completion, they evoke the enormous strength of the creative concept as they try to free themselves from the bonds and physical weight of the marble. It is now claimed that the artist deliberately left them incomplete to represent this eternal struggle of human beings to free themselves from their material trappings.”

The statutes as a group speak so deeply to me. In some ways they speak of the desperate plight of life without Christ, as the quote above says – “they try to free themselves” and the “eternal struggle of human beings to free themselves from their material trappings”, but they also speak of the promise of freedom by the only one who can set the captives free.

The first prisoner, the youthful slave shows his arm covering his face, as though to hide his shame and despair;

The Awakening Slave appears to be deeply experiencing the bondage and seems to be writhing and straining to get free from the bondage that holds him captive;

The Bound Slave upholds a huge weight over his body and his head has not yet emerged from the stone. He is experiencing a great struggle to emerge. He seems to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders!

Finally, The Bearded Slave appears to be the most finished, the farthest along in his journey toward completion, the most mature, if you will. But still caught – still unfinished.

Do you see the parallels? It is only the Hand of the Creator who can complete the work of freeing the slaves from their prisons. And that includes you. And me. Isaiah 61:1-2 which contains part of Jesus’ job description says:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners… (NIV)

(see also Luke 4:18)

I want to leave you with this amazing promise out of Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NASB)

I wish we could all sit down over a cup of coffee and explore these amazing sculptures. But since we can’t, what are your thoughts? Which one most fully describes You? How do these amazing sculptures speak to your condition? Please comment below so we can all benefit and grow.

Also, John-dear and I would appreciate your thoughts on, how are we doing? Are you seeing Him show up in your life? Do you have any suggestions for articles that you’d like to see?


I recently read or heard that we are just learning to crack the communication code between whales and how they “speak” to one another. That got me to thinking along a different line – the whole idea of how God communicates with us. Sounds crazy, but stay with me on this…

So with whales, researchers have developed some interesting theories. For example,

  • Whale-sounds travel by echolocation (the same way bats communicate). Sound waves move along the water and echoes back to the whale that sent them;
  • Whales create small pods (groups who travel together) who have various and possibly unique ways of communicate with each other;
  • Each pod communicates differently;
  • Researchers have noted that the communication of whales in captivity is different than those in the wild;
  • Whales sing “songs” that can last up to 30 minutes that may communicate various things to other whales;

  • John-dear threw in his two cents worth by telling me that we can’t hear all the ways whales communicate because some sound waves are below our human threshold of hearing. That’s interesting.

If we could communicate with whales, we could speak to them of things they might understand – like plankton, fish, water, ocean. But I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t understand some other concepts like laptops, football or baked potatoes. Or, if they could communicate with us, they might tell us great and mighty things. Job 12:7-8 says, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.” What do they know that we don’t? What has God whispered in the depths of the sea that could teach us more about Him?

In Job 12:22, we learn, “He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.” And in Romans 11:33 we see, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! I don’t know about you, but sometimes these things perplex me. God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding are so far above our ability to see, hear and understand. Communication with Him seems nearly impossible. It’s like a Ph.D. trying to explain the theory of relativity to a toddler – or to me. Probably not going to happen.

But then, we underestimate God’s heart for us. Because He sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus came to teach us how to communicate with God and with ‘our pod’. He used stories, parables, observation and example. In Matthew 11:27, Jesus said, “My Father entrusted everything to Me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son AND anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” This tells me that He wants to reveal and speak to us.

I’m not a whale-researcher, but I have a theory or two of my own. I believe that God deeply desires community with us and stoops every day to speak. I believe as we learn to walk in His ways, His Spirit who is our guide, reveals His truth, His words, in ways we can understand. And I think that to believe God is too far above us to even want to communicate makes Him too small. So, I keep expecting Him to show up because, among other things, He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you; I am with you always, even to the end of the age; I will send you the Comforter who will guide you into all truth…”

So, what’s your take on this whole whale’s tale?

(some of the above info gleaned from Whale World, http://www.whale-world.com/whale-communication/)

What Caption Would You Give This Photo?



The Game Room

I have a quirky sense of humor and our son suggested that this “room” be sub-titled, Things That Make You Smile. I love to laugh. I love funny videos, especially cat-videos. And, I appreciate other people’s ability to communicate humor through words and pictures.

Just for kicks, what would caption would you give the photo above? Contenders: Karaoke Night; You Touch My Kids and You Have Me to Deal with; Is it Edible?

Let’s just consider this room a place where you might find something to smile about!