Sunday 26 September 2021

Greater Love Has No Man Than This...

...To Lay Down His Life For His Friends 

I found one part of the Rodin Exhibition very challenging. It was the room where they displayed the plaster cast for "The Burghers Of Calais"

Do you know this story? In 1346, King Edward III of England and his armies besieged the French port of Calais. The people were starving. Six burghers [wealthy citizens who served as civic officials] stepped forward, and offered their lives in return for the King sparing the townsfolk. In the end, the men were ultimately released. 
Rodin's sculpture commemorates their brave act. He exaggerated the size of their bare bruised feet, showing their vulnerability and hopelessness as they walked towards their death.
Initially Rodin planned to put the men on a pedestal, but then decided to keep it at ground level, where the observer could recognise their common humanity. This was a revolutionary idea.

There is a bronze casting of the Burghers in the Victoria Gardens near the Palace of Westminster. I was quite a young child when my father took me to see this statue. He told me the story, and reminded me not only of Jesus' words, but also said that these men were civic officials. He said to hold such a position of honour meant also acknowledging the responsibility of service towards their fellow townspeople. As I looked at these plaster models I remembered my dad's words, and how his life was one of commitment and service.
Maybe some of those in authority today should stop on their way to Westminster and consider these men - who were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for others . I am so glad they were spared - their commitment and willingness to suffer for the sake of others is an example to us all.


  1. Modern day Burghers will sacrifice the citizens if they can save themselves! :D

  2. Well said - we should be so lucky.....

  3. What a wonderful example the Burghers were for all in authority and the rest of us as well.

  4. An example to us all. Let he who is the greatest amongst us make himself the least or something of that ilk is exactly what Jesus said and these men did.


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