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Posts Tagged ‘medici’

Florence, Italy is a beautiful and historic city.  We visited on day 3 of our Mediterranean vacation.  Aside from the stifling heat and crowded conditions I was enthralled by the architecture, culture, and food. One of the highlights was entering the Duomo which is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. Admittedly the day was one of hustle and hurry from place to place as we tried to cram as much as possible into the day. One of the main reasons I enjoyed the Duomo is because we were able to slow down and just sit quietly for several minutes.

I have studied only a little of the history, but I understand that the Medici family was particularly powerful and influential in supporting / leading the development of much of the most beautiful of what we see in Florence. Not everything about the Medici family was magnanimous though. In fact a lot of the stories were anything but flattering. However their efforts were used to create the beautiful place Christin and I were able to sit.

Gazing upon the frescos and sculptures my mind rested upon the God who gives wonderful gifts and talents to man. A thought struck me that persists – the art in Florence and specifically within the churches was sometimes helpful to me in my meditation upon God. But at other times it was distracting by degrees. So the question arises – what is the true value of art?

It seems to me that the highest purpose of art is to speak to the deepest parts of our consciousness and point us to God. Admittedly I begin from a standpoint of knowing that God exists and that He wants to be involved in our lives. While He chooses to remain out-of-sight for the most part, it is not because He doesn’t want to be known. On the contrary He desires a relationship with us, but He wants that relationship to be one of faith rather than sight. So when I think of the highest purpose of art I see that it is to draw us into an acknowledgement of the one who gives gifts to people and creates beauty in this world. For many people art speaks more eloquently to the spiritual part of them than rhetoric ever could.

Another purpose of art I believe is to stretch us, to see things that we might overlook otherwise. I know the few moments in the Duomo made me realize I had allowed some of the negative “press” about the Medici family to cloud my perspective of Florence and this powerful family. That is not to condone things they may or may not have done, but it does mean I can look upon them as I do every man and acknowledge, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Hopefully their religious acts did not get in the way of meeting the savior personally. Jesus was able to stretch me as I sat on a little bench against one of the cool, stone walls gazing upon the grandeur of the place. My hope is He did that for the Medici family and for the hundreds and thousands who have passed through this beautiful city as well.

As we leave Florence I am stirred by the many generations that have gone on before me who have sought to honor God in their day and in their way. I pray that you and I may leave a lasting legacy, perhaps not with stones and blocks, frescos and sculptures, but with good deeds done and faithful obedience to the One who has called us to Himself.

Have a blessed day today and always!

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