Christ the Redeemer Gets Saved

Brazil restore Christ the Redeemer

I recently read an article about Christ the Redeemer. I thought it was compelling. While some may question how the Redeemer beat historic sites like the Acropolis, the Alhambra and Hagia Sofia, for example, onto the New 7 Wonders list, it has its virtues.

Firstly, the obvious: it is Jesus Our Lord. I do ask myself, however, if He is really pleased with such a statue. At any rate, from a human perspective, Christ the Redeemer is breathtaking. When filmed at just the right angle, zooming in from a distance to the giant Jesus sitting on Corcovado, looking out over the city with arms wide open, surrounded in misty cloud and narrow hills, is simply a marvel. Powerful. It is saying a lot in the simplest way.

It reveals on a small scale in the physical realm what is taking place in the spiritual realm: Jesus guarding us, waiting for us with arms
wide open, and not just those in Rio de Janeiro, but the whole earth.

The stats on the statue are impressive. Christ the Redeemer receives around 5,000 tourists a day. They can ascend all the way up to the overlook to view the spectacular landscapes and sites of both rich and poor. If you look closely, you will see an exit door on Christ’s right shoulder for the repair workers. The idea for putting is there is that they are like birds on his shoulder. Get it? Umhmm. Clever little detail…

Apparently the inside is nothing more than crude. “There is little natural light and only a few bare bulbs. Flights of open stairs make Christ the Redeemer in Braziltheir way up through the centre, between the criss-crossed concrete supports that give the statue its strength. A thick skin of reinforced concrete means the inside is cool, despite the summer heat outside. Climbing up, a number is crudely painted on the wall of each of the 12 floors in what feels like an abandoned, dusty warehouse,” reports the BBC article, Arms Wide Open.

While photos of this statue are some of the most picturesque you will ever see, especially the ones with lightning strikes, the strikes have done a lot of damage to the historic landmark. I was not actually aware until I read the article that the 38m statue weighed over 1000 tons or had a tile façade. What’s more, the Brazilian architect of Christ the Redeemer, Heitor da Silva Costa, was the first to design a statue totally made up of mosaics. This one has around 6,000,000.

The lightning strikes are not rare; Christ the Redeemer receives between 2 to 4 strikes every year. The one that struck last January, however, was more destructive than usual. More than three-quarters of a million dollars is presently being spent on repairs. The thanks goes to South America’s president of tire-giant Pirelli, Paolo Dal Pino, for picking up the tab. Sadly, though, the stone that was quarried for the statue originally has long ago exhausted. Jesus is turning darker shades of mismatched stones, those of grey, blue, green.

The purpose behind the creation of the Redeemer was simple. The turn of the 19th Century had taken place; Brazil became a republic. Mirroring its neighbor on the continent above, Brazil chose to separate the church and state. Then came the Great War. When WWI ended, leaders feared the masses were going to steer away from God. Christ the Redeemer was erected to reclaim Christianity. Whether this mission was accomplished is debatable (Sorry, I am picturing the very risqué Mardi Gras, as colourful as it may be). Christ the Redeemer undergoes restoration

The irony is that I, myself as a Christian, have seen many of the new and almost-new wonders. I have gazed up at the Acropolis, the Coliseum, and Hagia Sofia. I have wandered through the Alhambra. I have seen perhaps the grandest of them all, Petra. But I have never yet seen Christ the Redeemer.To be sure, it is on my list. While the Eiffel Tower may be more sleek (phallic) and chic, the Alhambra more clever with its Whisper Room, and Stonehenge more mystical, I like Christ the Redeemer as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. He is commanding from any angle, any distance, in any weather, night or day. The Giant Jesus is alluring. What can I say? Jesus is War.

Written by Jori Sams


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