I like science. The study of science is an entry point into understanding the way God works in our world. When you study science, from physics to biology, from quantum mechanics to the life sciences, you gain an understanding, however incomplete, into the mind of God. It is a glimpse into how he makes things work. For your enjoyment, I have a few links into things that continue to be mysterious to us, yet fall well within the mind of God.
First, a story of natural crop circles, and how termites mold the ecosystem of the desert to both their own and the deserts benefit. Read about their “fairy circles.” Another unusual insect story from nature is the story of the cicadas. You may be aware that a brood is coming above ground this spring, the first time they have been seen in 17 years! And how about some pictures of the aurora borealis, one of the greatest God proclaiming events on earth. It reminds me of the Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
I thought I might interview the kids regarding Easter. I wanted just their most basic thoughts. Annie gave me a good effort, but the rest were a little less into it.
David – I know this is probably wrong, because Jesus died and rose again, but usually candy comes to my mind first. He died and rose again for our sins, we did not deserve his grace.
Annie – I just want to say what the disciples probably thought on Saturday. They probably thought that “We have been Jesus’ disciples for three years, and this is the end of it?” That is probably what they thought. I think they felt sad when he died. I think they felt surprised and happy when he rose from the dead. It means a lot to me that Jesus was dying for our sins.
Sarah – Easter means to me that it is fun. It is because Jesus died on the cross. Its because Jesus rose on that day.
Peter – Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. And people sometimes celebrate it with bunnies and eggs and candy. And also, umhh, Jesus rose from the dead. Signing off.
I am so thankful for what Jesus has done for us. As I have become older and wiser, recognizing more and more how depraved I am, the gift of complete forgiveness, and the righteousness given to us through Jesus sacrifice, his suffering, his death, burial, and resurrection, all these things carry more and more significance in my life. And my thankfulness increases. I fail continually, yet I walk around forgiven and righteous in the eyes of God. What a great gift, and what a great thing to celebrate.
Jesus is lifted up
Before writing further, I want to recognize that I have lots of cultural and personal blind spots. Furthermore, when any person or group decides to celebrate any tradition one way, they will inevitably miss out on the pros of doing it another way. This is just a little Santa Semana ruminating.
Yesterday morning we went to the local Catholic church to watch their Good Friday procession. They left the church with the statue of Jesus carried by four young men and a host of costumed Roman guards. Along the way they stopped for readings about the stations of the cross. A statue of Mary came out of a side street to meet Jesus along the road of the passion. Will and I both commented that it helps you to picture Jesus actually walking along a real street, carrying the cross, even though some of the other elements were distracting. Continue reading
Overlooking the rim at Volcán Irazú
On Tuesday of this week we visited a nearby volcano called Irazú. It is outside the city of Cartago which is very close to San Jose with local buses going there many times a day. Cartago was the initial capital of Costa Rica, and for many years was the only city of size within the country. However, because the volcano is active, its eruptions kept causing problems for the city, and eventually the capital was moved to San Jose. The last time Irazú erupted was the day John F. Kennedy arrived to Costa Rica for a visit. The volcano is over 11,000 feet in elevation, and it is reported that on clear days you can see both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. We were all impressed with the view, the clear blue sky, and the volcanic ash that looked like a desert near the rim. Continue reading
This Semana Santa or Holy Week in Costa Rica. It is possibly the biggest holiday in Costa Rica and it feels similar to Christmas week in the United States. However it is more like what Christmas may have been like 40 years ago. Everything is going to shut down. Our school closed for the entire week. Many government offices and business close for the entire week, most will be closed today, and everyone will be closed tomorrow through Sunday. It is a big Catholic holiday, and since so many are Catholic it is a big weekend for the country. Interestingly many people take this week to go to the beach, and from a tourist standpoint it is called a super high season. Everything is very expensive, especially accommodations, so it is not a very good time for us to take a trip. And since Sarah is in a cast, we cannot really go to the beach anyway. However if you ever think about visiting Costa Rica for a vacation, do not come during Holy Week. You will pay. There are many processions throughout the city on different days celebrating significant events in the final week of Jesus’ life. For a good explanation of Holy Week look at this link on wikipedia. Continue reading
Allison testing checking the fruit for freshness
Every Saturday morning, after breakfast, we head to the local market or Feria. It is located near a local park and track. It appears to me that much of the produce arrives from large farms somewhere in San Jose, yet there is also evidence that much of what is presented is local produce as well. Of course, occasionally we find an apple with a sticker from the US. It is very cheap, and we are glad to be able to buy fresh fruit and vegetables every Saturday. The vegetables are huge! Allison has picked out her favorite vendors, and generally goes to the same stalls every Saturday. Continue reading
Following are pictures of our favorite park, Parque Copa. This park is about a five minute walk from our house, and on the weekends it is always full of both Ticos (Costa Ricans) and gringos. On Friday afternoons I will play ultimate Frisbee with some of the guys from school. The kids play soccer, or war, or other imaginary games. There is a nice playground with swings, climbing structures, etc. However if you look closely at the first picture (you can click on it to make it bigger) you will see trees and a strongly sloped hill leading up to the fence. That is our kids favorite area to play, climbing trees, swinging sticks. I love the park, and I love that there are people there so often, and I love that the weather allows us to be there most of the year.
Looking east. Click on a picture for a better view.
Looking west. Click on the picture for a better view.
The razorwire separating our house from the neighbor.
I hate to admit this, because there are so many things I love about being in Costa Rica. I love the challenge of learning a new language (on my good days). I love the weather, the beauty, and the friendliness of the people. Yet there is a problem here, and that problem is sin. We have the same problem in the US where it seems to manifest in moral decay, perversion, and greed. In Costa Rica it manifests itself in poverty. And this poverty leads to desperation as people will allow their moral character to relax as they justify actions based on needs. We all protect ourselves against this desperation by being careful with our goods, having double or triple locks on doors, razorwire on our fences, and security guards walking the streets at night. However, it creates a level of tension that never goes away as you consistently have these reminders that you need to be careful. And when you are a “gringo”, and you struggle with the language and understanding the cultural clues, it makes it more difficult so that the tension increases. Within the first month we were Continue reading