Guatemala – Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Scripture I read this morning included Colossians 1:12, “…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

How we celebrate what God has done in giving us a rich, holy inheritance, not of our own deserving but of his grace and mercy! Today is my birthday, and while I have been blessed with many good things, my greatest privilege is that of being part of the kingdom of God, a kingdom of light in this dark world.

We went with Melanie and Julio to their church, which is located near the entrance to the city. The city entrance is marked by this arch.

Just inside the arch is another monument, showing two features of the culture – an ethnic worker, in this case a woman; and a giant marimba, on which she she standing.

Here is their church, Emannuel Presbyterian.

Pastor Moieses (Moses) works full-time for a ministry by the Christian Reformed Church, teaching better farming techniques and doing other ministries of compassion. He is very supportive of the work that Melanie and Julio do with the poor.

Here Julio is talking with Jose, a church member who is involved with the work of InnerCHANGE here.

And this Melanie with Jose’s wife.

I mentioned before the buses and their Christian messages. This one, although hard to read in this photo, says, “Regalo de Dios” or Gift of God.

Mel and Julio and his parents and a few others took us out to dinner to honor my birthday. Julio’s mother, Olga, has her birthday tomorrow. She says she will be 49 again. The restaurant is called Tertuliano. A very impressive building.

It is over one hundred years old and was first the British consulate, then a college or seminary, and now, owned by the Catholic Church, it is rented or leased to this restaurant business. The food and service were top quality.

Here is the basement, originally a vegetable and wine cellar from the British consulate days.

And in the courtyard a Christian symbol, from the college or seminary days.

After the meal, the wait staff brought dessert to me and Olga and sang Happy Birthday. The dessert was not a cake, but a coffee-flavored flan, perfectly delicious.

Back to Mel and Julio’s apartment, from the flat roof you look north and see the cupolas of the Catholic Cathedral, the Church of the Holy Spirit, just five blocks away.

At four o’clock we went to Central Park (the square) to see a Christmas parade. Like last week’s parade, there were several bands, two of them out of tune, unfortunately. Many floats, simple or elaborate.

Two band numbers, from the in-tune band, were Christian hymns. Otherwise, a seasonal, secular event.

I was hoping to see a religious procession by the cathedral. I understand they can be quite elaborate, but there were none this week – at least none that we learned about. Evidently they come in December, closer to Christmas Day.

Emmanuel Presbyterian Church.

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