I forgot to add this to my brief recounting of visiting St. Peter’s in Rome. As I was looking at all of the crypts and memorials, statues and monuments, to dead popes and their alleged accomplishments, I could not help but think of Shebna in Isaiah 22:15-18:
Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: 16 What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock? 17 Behold, the LORD will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you 18 and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house.
While visiting the British Museum I ran into an amazing little item. Here is a picture of the inscription over Shebna’s tomb, the very one for which God criticized him in Scripture. The lesson? Monuments to men’s lives should be living, not dead; they should be in the lives they touched, the truths they proclaimed, the words they wrote so as to bless coming generations. Christians should be remembered for who they were in Christ. That’s why Popes can only be honored by cold marble statues: without the gospel, everything else is vain, no matter how much sacrifice one may make.