The Ghent Altarpiece is a magnificent piece of art. It was commissioned in the early 15th century, and it depicts the most important figures and scenes in the Christian story.
During World War II, the Nazis stole this priceless work of art – along with countless others – and hid it deep underground in a mine, intending to one day put it in a museum dedicated to the glory of the Fuhrer.
As the Allied forces gained ground in North Africa and then in Europe, the United States formed the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) program, a group of art experts mobilized to identify, rescue, and protect cultural treasures from the ravages of war. The film “The Monuments Men” recount how this unique group, often rushed through basic training and deployed beyond the front lines, recovered the Ghent Altarpiece – among many other precious objects – and returned it to its rightful home.
There is a powerful lesson for us in this. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he writes, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Gal. 6:1, NIV).
God has called all of us to be restorers. We are to help people get back into a right relationship with Him, with others, and with all of creation. Like the men of the MFAA, it’s our job to see where men and women who bear God’s image are in jeopardy, and to gently and lovingly restore them to their rightful place, in spite of the danger and discomfort that might be involved.
What a privilege that we have the mission of restoration! Learn how to get involved at www.prisonfellowship.org today.