Monday, December 16, 2013

San Juan

Here are three views from our visit last month to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  It was a beautiful, sunny, hot day in November and we enjoyed walking the hilly streets of historic San Juan.  The architecture of the homes and buildings is really pretty.  There is a mix of colonial, Spanish and Caribbean to the style which, along with palm trees, lots of greenery and their famous blue cobblestones, is a real delight.
We started our touring in the well-preserved Castillo San Felipe del Morro fort (an edge is seen in the top photo).  It sits atop a high promontory overlooking the entrance to San Juan Bay so we also had a cool view of it as we sailed into the harbor as well.  It was a bit of a jaunt from the ship to the fort, but the walk was pretty as well (although hot and uphill most of the way).  Begun in 1539, it wasn't totally finished until 1787.  It's been an active fort, attacked over the centuries by the English, the Dutch, and even the United States.  It's now part of the U.S. National Park system, which meant we were able to get in free with our Golden Age Park pass (:
The second photo offers a glimpse of the colorful houses, hilly cobbled street, and lush greenery.  The last photo shows the interior of the Catedral San Juan Bautista Basilica Menor Nuestra Senora de los Remelios -- that's, of course, in Spanish so I'm not sure what the translation would be, but it is a beautiful cathedral with some striking stained glass windows.  We sat down and I prayed for a few minutes beneath the "shadow of the cross."
Seeing the fort reminds me that in spite of a peaceful appearance, our world is in the midst of intense warfare.  These visible pictures appear peaceful and even beautiful - and it was a peaceful and beautiful visit, but we should never forget that in the midst of what is visible, there is an invisible world that is clanging with crashing swords and fierce fighting -- right above our heads.
Jesus tells us in His word that Satan is a roaring lion and that the forces of evil are strong and insidious - seeking to invade our homes and families.  They want nothing more than for us to be lulled into letting down our guard.  The enemies intention is to destroy us -- or at least our own peace and testimony.
The picture of the church is a symbol of Jesus overcoming the forces of evil by dying on the cross and rising from His grave.  He conquered death and hell and I'm so thankful that in all these things He is stronger and that He has given us His Holy Spirit as our great warrior - "Greater is He that is within us, than he that is in the world."
Go in the power of the Holy Spirit, O warrior princess and warrior prince!

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