Script, Andrea Rea, Thursday December 15th 2016
The bell tower of the Cathedral in the Italian town of Pisa took 199 years to build and was started in the 12th century. It is said that Galileo dropped two cannonballs from the tower, to prove objects of the same material but different weights would fall at the same rate. If that actually happened – and many dispute it – the experiment would have been made easier by the fact that the tower leans.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been the object of attention of architects, scientists, engineers and historians for hundreds of years - not to mention the subject of millions of photographs. When I had the chance to see the tower, I almost passed it up, because I figured I already had seen it. But that would have been a great pity, because it is highly elegant, even breathtaking when viewed in reality. It’s somehow mysterious and set apart too – as if the reason it leans and doesn’t fall over is an unfathomable, magical part of some great cosmic puzzle.
There were attempts over the years to correct the lean – some of which actually made it worse. Then, in 1990, a multinational task force that had studied the tower for ten years, began on work to correct and stabilise the Leaning Tower. And 15 years ago today, the tower re-opened to the public.
Tests have shown that the tower is now stable and will remain so for at least another 200 years. I’m happy to report, though, that the leaning Tower of Pisa still leans, thus preserving its beautiful mystery.
Lord God of all that is– help us to embrace that which is off-kilter, quirky and unstable, and let us understand fully that imperfection is as much part of your design as whatever appears perfect. Amen