Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why the Christ?

Travel is a freeing experience…as I have often described it…a “come to Jesus moment”. To have the opportunity to see the world and further more to see how blessed we are to be American is a priceless realization. Having had the chance to see some of this vast world I have had more than a few “come to Jesus moments”. It happened at the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and it happened at the entrance gate of the Taj Mahal. It happened as we stood above the clouds atop of a volcano in Hawaii. It even happened at the foot of the Piton Mountains on an island called St. Lucia. But now…right this very moment, I brace myself as I venture to point my mind to our next “moment”. This time, ironically enough, it will be an actual “come to Jesus” moment.

Our next adventure is planned to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Our choice of Brazil was not an easy one, throwing around Thailand and Australia, Morocco and New Zealand as our next vacation destinations. Egypt still being elusive due to civil unrest, the pyramids are still a few moments away. This time we wanted to return to a place tropical, a place filled with sunshine and beaches, but we still wanted to continue to check off our goal of seeing the world’s wonders. After much deliberation Rio seemed to be the sensible compromise.

Surely, we never make our decisions solely based on price or hotel reviews or flight time or cultural intrigue. No, sometimes we choose based on other important criteria that have served to sway our choice, like songs (God Is Real by India Arie - St. Lucia) and food (Curry found in India). This time it was a movie. Rio. The movie about the two Blue Macaws that fell in love. Yes, that RIO. Jamie Foxx, George Lopez…brilliant, inspiring Rio. So will we see the famous blue birds? I doubt it, but our hope is that we will see one other famous feature in Rio…The Christ.

Who is “The Christ”? More importantly, why “The Christ”?
Getty's Images
Briefly, the real name, the one we may actual hear in Brazil is Cristo Redentor. We in America call it Christ the Redeemer. It is the largest Art Deco piece in the world and is the 5th largest statue of Christ in the world. It is 130ft tall. Constructed between the years of 1922 and 1931 it sits on Corcovado Mountain majestically overlooking the city of Rio. The statue was subtly constructed in the shape of cross to portray an endearing message of Christianity to the world.

I do not believe in idol worship or bowing down to structures as representatives of God, but rather giving respect to God’s handy work. Like the miracle of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo could not have laid on his back for endless hours daily and yearly without the awesome assistance of one greater than himself (whether he was aware of it or not). Similarly, those who may have created the awe inspiring wonders of the world for the love of their companion, praise to nature, honor of self or by force by an oppressor really were caring out the handy work of God himself. At least for me, when I see these awesome wonders I can’t help but think about Heaven and how much more awesome it must be there in the presence of the real Christ who has redeemed us by his mercy.

So what will it be like to visit Tujica Forest National Park where Christ the Redeemer lives? It will be a “come to Jesus” moment…another reminder of how small we are and how big he is.