• James McMaster

Jesus, Florence and David

Once again, my apologies, for my lack of contact- I was at a conference in Italy and when I got home I promptly got sick for several days...


However, I will say that it was worth the sickness to see even a little of Florence, as the city just drips with priceless pieces of art on every corner! One of the highlights was seeing Michelangelo’s ‘David’ as I had no idea as to the size, and detail which went into this amazing sculpture. Standing before ‘David’ I could only praise God for giving such giftedness to men. Art critics still debate as to whether this snapshot of the great man was taken before or rather his run in with Goliath. What do you think?


Needless to say Florence, was coming down with incredibly decorated church buildings and cathedrals which really made your head spin and your jaw drop.


And yet....as regards these highly elaborate religious buildings I couldn’t help but feel a great sadness about them. I do not question the motives of the men that built them, but they seemed to echo with a sense of emptiness. Yes, these places were full but full of tourists rather than worshippers. If I would dare to say it the extent of the ‘outward glory’ seemed to perfectly reflect the lack of ‘inner spirituality’. Perhaps this is why the early Christians worshipped in places of mundane simplicity. They gloried not in gold but in God, not in jewels but in Jesus; the Jesus who walked this earth with neither gold, silver or fine arts at his disposal.


One magnificent building I saw had the boast of being Italy’s most beautiful church, and at the entrance there was written the inscription ‘the gate of Heaven’. Biblically this is wrong on two counts. Firstly, the Bible ALWAYS describes the church as plain simple people who trust in Jesus and NEVER as a building. Secondly, Jesus Christ alone is the ‘Gate of Heaven’ as it is He alone who can bring us to God.


Thank you, Florence, for a great time but, in the end, I was so happy to return to my own plain simply church (which presently meets in the Leisure centre) in Westport!

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