It rained all week last week and cleaned the air which made for a beautiful Saturday. Every color was vibrant. The blue sky was contrasted perfectly with the now lifeless brown trees and the still green grass. It was a perfect day for taking a six hour walking tour of Avenches, a once Roman city dating back to the first century B.C. I'm not sure many people get as giddy as I do exploring ancient remains. Maybe I get so giddy because I imagine Roman culture as a very fun culture. They had Baths and Theatres and beautiful temples. What I need to remember is that sometimes those Theatres were used for depraved games which led to violent deaths and their beautiful temples were filled with worshippers of false gods. My favorite part of the day however was climbing onto the remains of a Roman wall that once surrounded the city to provide protection. The view from the wall was incredible. The city of Avenches sits on a hill and as I sat and surveyed I couldn't help but think of the verse about a city on a hill,
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, instead, it must shine.
Avenches was a beautiful and ancient city, but I long for a new city; a lasting city. A city that will shine not because of any natural light, but with an everlasting light. Whose Maker and Builder is God.
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:14
Sunday was also a great day, tainted only by the fact that I cannot speak German. I was surrounded all day by people, but most of the time I still felt alone, because I could not be included in the conversation. After church I went with a group from the church on a picnic by the lake and then we took a walk among the vineyards on the hills surrounding the lake. That evening I rode with some of the same people to Zurich to attend a "charasmatic" Catholic service. The cathedral the service was held in was very modern, but made to look old. The architectural style was gothic, but it was very plain and simply decorated. There were only two small pieces of iconic art and a stone altar with symbolic carvings. Again, I could not understand the service, but it was not typically catholic. There were long moments of the most silent silence I have ever heard and the silence encouraged meditation and reflection. There was singing where only our voices were lifted up and the Word was read and exposited. It was very beautiful in its simplicity.
After the service we ate at McDonald's (boo!). I had a Snack Wrap, Delux Potatoes, and an Ovomaltine McFlurry (sooooo good!) and I asked for a cup of water to drink. When I sat down at the table with everyone else one of the girls pointed to my cup and asked me what it was. I told her it was water and she could not have been more confused! "Water? In a cup?" "Yes." "Did you have to pay for that?" "No." Another confused look. Apparently Swiss people do not drink "plain" water.
Suffice it to say they also thought it was weird that I dipped my fries in my McFlurry, but I have decided to be unashamedly American!! :) Atleast at McDonald's....
We also stopped at a candy shop on the way back to the van and acted like little kid's oohing and aahing at all the different candy. One girl bought a bag with several different kinds and shared with all of us. It was perfect!