It is my first full day in Florence, Italy, and I visited the Bargello Museo. It is walking distance from where I am staying and formally called Museo Nazionale del Bargello. I took too many photos and cried at one point. I am in a city that draws tourists to see sacred objects mostly in admiration that honor Jesus through the centuries. I have a special affection for Italy because of the book of Acts which documents the mission trips of the early church. Most of that history is tracing Paul’s travels to spread the Good News. I had the privilege of serving in 2017 near Bari, Italy, and am happy to return for a rest. I am also in a city that has a thousand shops and a thousand restaurants. So far the spaghetti bolognese and pizza prove this is also a culinary destination. Florence is more affordable than Switzerland where I just completed a Discipleship Training School and more than a month of service in east London.
The Bargello Museo is huge with room after room of art honoring Jesus. Many pieces feature the Madonna and Babe. In all art forms Jesus and Mary have the same face only Jesus is smaller. My faith came to me apart from the Roman Catholicism that is in awe of Mary. Mary was a blessed servant but there is no scripture that assigns her deity. It is a miscalculation and a distraction. God loved Mary as much as He loved Jesus and God loves you as much as He loves Jesus. That is hard to understand that my holiness comes only through belief in Jesus as God’s only Son.
It may be wrong to combine a travel event with faith but the art is remarkable. I saw amazing statues (tall and small), ivory carvings, glazed pottery, metal (variety) in sculpture, antiquities, ancient church pews, unique church architecture, tile work, gems, pulpits, and a cute couple on a tile roof I viewed from a museum window (they gave me a thumbs-up when I signaled that I wanted to take a photo). Life goes on in this magnificent city that showcases the beauty of art that honors Jesus.