Munich is full of statues.
There are plenty of statues in honor of kings and emperors – like this one:
It stands in the middle of the street and is in honor of Maximilian II. By the way, the street’s name is Maximilianstrasse – just to drive the point home.
He’s looking pretty good up there – very stately and in charge. He has a Roman Caesar look about him. The monument exudes confidence and control. Everything a king wants to be. And with the placement in the middle of the street, it sends a message that you are not in control, you have to go around and you can’t help but notice the one in the middle.
Contrast this with this statue.
It’s a statue of St. John of Nepomuk. He’s in the middle of the river Isar with Maximilian Bridge right behind him.
These two statues are not far from each other. And the contrast between them is striking to me.
One stands in the middle of the road forcing traffic to reroute from a straight path on a road named for the same person. The other stands in the middle of a river, off the main path.
Reminds me of the bible passage from Matthew 13:13-14:
13 ‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Probably the most striking thing the contrast is that these two statues exist. One isn’t surprising – it’s of a king and states love to honor those that build up kingdoms of earth. Yet, it’s ironic that the kingdom it honors no longer exists. It was incorporated into another state. Yet the statue lives on as a part of history.
The other statue is the state’s attempt to high jack religion into its service. Yet, any statue of a saint is never about that state. Saints are interested in building up another type of kingdom – God’s kingdom.