Saturday, April 19, 2014

No Greater Love

My family and I attended the Good Friday Service in our church yesterday. Our pastor gave an expository preaching about the Seven Last Words of Christ. During the service, the congregation was led into singing "No Greater Love". I am no singer but I couldn't help reflecting on the lyrics of the song that goes,  

"You love me,
When I was so unlovely,
You sought me
When I was lost; 
You showed me
How much You really loved me, 
When You bought me
At the highest cost.

There's no greater love than this,
That a man would give his life for a friend;
There's no higher sacrifice
Than a man would give his life, 
You have paid
A precious price for me.

You chose me, 
When I was so unworthy
You cleansed me
With Your own blood;
You clothed me
With righteousness and mercy,
And You crowned me
With Your steadfast love."

What greater love, indeed, would allow anyone to lay down his life for a friend? "So high the price He paid..." goes the lyrics of a song the church choir sang in between the preaching sessions. 

"So high the price He paid, the nails, the cross, the grave. 
Such pardon He bestowed, such grace He showed.
No greater sacrifice, He gave His very life.
So deep His love, so high the price!

I sat quietly on the pew, reflecting on the lyrics of these songs. How a wretched and filthy sinner like me could be saved from the sinfulness of sin when no less than God Himself stepped down from Heaven's throne to carry the cross and wear the crown of thorns? That's grace beyond measure! 

Thank You, Lord, for dying on the cross for me!
The photos above and below were taken at the Swiss National Museum

Thank You because You are nailed on the cross no more! You have risen from the grave. The power that raised You from the grave now works in our lives to save. Thank You because You freed our hearts to live Your grace. Thank You that You are alive. You're alive, seated at the right hand of God and in heaven glorified! 

May you have a blessed celebration of Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kirchen in Zurich

Translated in English, that means, "Churches in Zurich". Well, this post was inspired by the photos and posts I've seen in Facebook since yesterday. I know of friends who practice the tradition of visiting churches during the Lenten season. That reminds me of the three famous churches we visited on our 3rd day in the city of Zurich. If you have been with me in my previous post (click here to view), this is a sequel.

On our 3rd day, after coming out of the Swiss National Museum where we went round and round, lost in the immense historic grandeur of the place, we once again spanned the length of Limmatquai and Bahnhofquai (the streets on both sides of the Limmat River) to Stadthausquai. Within the vicinity we were able to get a closer view of the three famous and major churches for which the city of Zurich is known for.

These are the Fraumunster and St. Peter on the western bank and the Grossmunster at the eastern bank of the Limmat River.

First, the Fraumunster Church (Minster or Church of our Lady). Founded by Louis the German for his daughter, Hildegard, this church was built on the remains of a former abbey for aristocratic women.

Here are our photos with the church at the background.

 Billy (my husband) and me standing at Munsterbrucke

The photos below show a closer view the steeple and the slender blue spire giving the Fraumunster Church a graceful look.
The Fraumunster Church up close
Located at the corner of Munsterhof and Stadthausquai, this church is famous for its Chagall stained-glass windows. Designed by Marc Chagall, the five large stained-glass windows were installed in 1970. Each of the five windows has a dominant color, and depicts Christian stories about Elijah's ascent to heaven (red-orange window), Jacob's combat and dreams of heaven (blue window), various scenes in the life of Christ (green window), an angel in Zion who trumpets the end of the world (yellow window) and the Law where Moses is seen looking down on the suffering of his people (blue window).

We were not able to take photos of the Chagall glass windows inside the sanctuary but I was able to capture three of them from the outside. 
The designs are somehow visible in the photo above. Can you see them? Look at the photo below and see how colorful they really look inside the church.
Chagall stained-glass windows taken from google 
That's my husband, in deep amazement and appreciation of the architectural design of the church.
The columns at the church court
The second church we visited was St. Peter's Church (also known as St. Peterskirche) located at Sankt Peterhofstatt Plaza along Schlusselgasse, adjacent to Lindenhof Hill (site of the former Roman castle), another famous tourist spot in Zurich. St. Peter's Church is the oldest church in Zurich.  

I took this photo while standing at the Munsterbrucke
That's me at Munsterbrucke with the church at the background

The St. Peter Church from behind some barren trees
Surrounded by houses and shops, this church stands so tall with its impressive steeple and spire adorned with the largest clock face in Europe that is visible over the city.
Photo taken from the side of the church along Schlusselgasse
while going uphill heading to the front of the church
In the olden days, the steeple was manned by a night-watch keeping an eye should fire break out in the city. 
 The steeple of St. Peter's Church with its largest wall clock as seen from Schlusselgasse

Europe's largest church wall clock up-close
Billy, my husband in this photo. I was able to capture a  full view of the steeples and spires
of both churches, Fraumunster and St. Peters, at the background. Good shot? 
Now, the third and the last church we visited was the Grossmunster Church.
A view of the Grossmunster from Stadthausquai located at the west bank of Limmat River
Also known as the Great Minster or the Great Church, Grossmunster is an Evangelical Protestant church in the Old Town of Zurich.

Its front door (called portal) and side with the twin towers both face Zwingliplatz which turns left to Grossmunsterplatz. Funny but I just realized this perspective while looking intently at this replica of the church. All the while, I thought the twin towers were on the front part of the church.

I wasn't able to resist taking a picture of this miniature Grossmunster! Isn't it cute? 
A miniature Grossmunster standing at the church's yard

Grossmunster's portal : entrance to the church facing Zwingliplatz
I wasn't successful at getting a perfect timing in taking a picture with the church door closed. There were just a lot of people coming in and out of the church. And my husband kept signalling that it was time to go.

What I found so amazing with this 12th-century Romanesque-style cathedral is its fascinating history of Catholic saints and Protestant preaching. The history tells of a very interesting legend about the three martyr saints (Felix, Regula and Exuperantius) who were said to be burned and beheaded, and who were found by Charlemagne's horse when he stopped over their graves. See the statue in the photo below.

Like the Fraumunster, the Grossmunster is also known for its stained-glass windows created by Sigmar Polke which took three years to finish. See photo below. 

This photo of Polke's stained-glass window was taken from google
I wasn't able to get a photo of the stained-glass window from inside the church but here's one taken from outside. Not a very good shot taken from where I stood as the light reflected on the window but it's enough that you appreciate the beauty of sliced agate, creating brightly luminous walls of stone.

Strolling down Zurich's Old Town, one would never miss this church's twin spires or towers that serve as the city's most famous and recognizable landmarks. 

The towers / spires from below

  The photo above and below were both taken from the Rathausbrucke.

Lastly, here's one more photo I took which perfectly captured all three churches in one shot.
Taken from the Polyterrasse ETH Zurich Zentrum, after taking a short cable car ride via Polybahn. Beautiful view of the city from here!
Well, how did you find today's church hopping? I know I haven't led you into the sanctuaries of each of the three churches. We've seen only the facade. But has any of these churches made a lasting impression upon you? You may write down your thoughts in the comment box below.

Oh, by the way, what are your plans for the long weekend? For Easter Sunday? Would you like to come along again another day? It's a date then!
Linking to:
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Resistance - Renaissance of Zurich

As I said in the other post entitled, Walking Down the Street of Zurich: Episode 1, from the hotel, we crossed to the other side of Pfingstweidstrasse where we saw this view of the two buildings just across. 

This building is named Resistance

This is a closer view of the same building, the Resistance

Resistance is an old building, I mean, it looks old--- that is, in terms of its structure, color and style, compared to the other buildings in the neighborhood. Do you notice the tall building at the back of the Resistance? Look towards the back of the building on the right. The tall building is more visible here. That's the Renaissance Zurich Tower Hotel, one of the luxury hotels in Zurich.

The three photos above were taken on a very cold, foggy morning. It was difficult to get a clear view of the Renaissance from a distance. Unfortunately, we had no more time to come back to take a better shot before we left for home. So here are two more photos of the two buildings I found from google. There, you could appreciate them better--- the Resistance and Renaissance buildings seen together, side-by-side, in this view.
Photo from Littledutchboy of flickriver
Quite intriguing are the looks of these two buildings. As we gazed at them, we were speculating on possible stories. This made me recall (which took quite some time and effort!) the title of a movie I watched a good number of years ago. Batteries not Included by Steven Spielberg! Anybody familiar with this movie? It's about a group of tenants in an apartment block who refused to move out despite orders and threats to vacate the place, such that the demolition couldn't be done by developers. They had to hire a local gang to make violent attempts at persuading the occupants to leave. However, visiting aliens in mechanical life-forms who became friends came to the rescue of the tenants. 
Frank and Faye Riley (real-life couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy) face eviction after unscrupulous developers bought their apartment building.
Using their extraterrestrial abilities, the tenants' new-found friends were able to defeat the ploy of the developers by restoring every single damage caused in the building. Fantastic!
The friendly extraterrestrial machines who saved the tenants' home from demolition
I searched the net to read about the Resistance and Renaissance. Well, well, well, would you like to know what I found out! Well, it's very interesting! I learned that the Resistance is also referred to as the Nail House in Zurich West.
Resistance: The Nail House in Zurich West
A nail house, derived from the Chinese word, Dingzihu, is a term that means household or person who refuses to vacate their home to make room for real estate development. The word was coined by developers to refer to nails that are stuck in wood and cannot be hammered down. Nail house "stick out like nails in an otherwise modernized environment".

If you are interested to read about the proposed project intended for this place in Zurich West, click here (Nagelhaus, Zurich).

Oh, I also found this article, Resistance and Renaissance: A Metaphor for Managing Change (click title to read post) that talks about diverging views that may hinder initiatives on change.

Well, I hope I have shared with you a bit of history. Now back to our Walk Down the Streets of Zurich: Episode 1. Are you still coming along? Remember, we just crossed the street and have barely begun... let's go!

Walking Down the Streets of Zurich: Episode 1

Are you ready for this walk? As I promised in my previous post, this is going to be a real long walk! Having no ticket to get either a tram, bus or train ride, there was not much choice left but to go on foot. But wait, first make sure you had a sumptuous breakfast! That's exactly what we had... a real heavy breakfast, our first meal in the hotel. Day 2 in Zurich.

From the hotel, we crossed to the other side of Pfingstweidstrasse. There we saw this view of the two buildings just across. 
The Resistance - Renaissance of Zurich West
The names and the looks of these buildings aroused my curiosity. Resistance and Renaissance. Similar font style on both buildings, yes, and situated near each other! Intrigued with these, I made a separate post featuring more photos and the story behind the Resistance and Renaissance. See you there. Click here to view post. 

Oh there you are, welcome back! It's time to move on... continue walking to the city. Are you still coming along? Just wanna make sure... okay, come on then...

Determined not to get lost, we just followed the route of Tram no. 4. Mission: To find the station where we could buy tram tickets without having to use our credit card in any tram station along the road. How about coins? Yes, of course, we could have used coins to get tram tickets but we just didn't have the exact amount yet.

Here's the Tram Station at Technopark Zurich West. It's the nearest Tram Station to our hotel.

At the Tram Station, one could buy tickets using coins or credit card. 

In my other post entitled, "A View of the Alps and the City of Zurich from Wipkingen Church" I already featured the route from Technoparkstrasse to Limmatstrasse via Hardstrasse. And so, in this post, I'll take it off from there. 

From Hardstrasse, we crossed to Limmatstrasse, where we saw KV Zurich Business School again. We just went straight along Limmatstrasse. 

We passed by Dammweg (pronounced dam-vig). Seeing that bridge was simply amazing! I was looking at a viaduct traversing Josefstrasse, Heinrichstrasse and Limmatstrasse along Zurich West with a shopping area underneath its 36 arches. By the way, a viaduct is a long bridge with a series of arches, carrying a road or railroad across a valley or low ground.

The Dammweg Viaduct

See the viaduct arches of the railway? Underneath these arches is a unique shopping and commercial center with more than 30 shops and grocery halls built during the 19th century.
We didn't visit any of the stores but in my heart, how I wished I had a chance to drop by another time to window shop. Sad to say, there was not much time.

Walking farther, we came along Quellenstrasse and found Anthony's Kitchen

Oh, once again, I was so enamored with the sight of the barren trees that I took quite a number of shots. See these...

I just never got tired looking at the trees!

Three blocks from there, we reached Limmatplatz. In here, we were about to rest for a while but having found no public seat, instead we took photos of the lone tree encased in a concrete circular ring. See photo below.

Without claiming the intended rest, not even a minute to take a seat, we continued to explore some streets near Limmatplatz. From Limmatstrasse, we turned right at Langstrasse, just strolled along, took some shots of the buildings like this...

... and photos of ads mounted on the wall.

Hmmm... where are we now? Oh, we just turned left at Fierzgasse... 

... then traced our way back to Limmatplatz again. Took this photo before leaving the Limmatplatz circle.

We're treading Limmatstrasse once again. After walking one block we saw this church just across the street. This is actually the third church we encountered in our two-day stay here in Zurich.

That's Johanneskirche. We didn't have to cross as the full view of the church was better from the other side of the street. Look at the photo below. Isn't it lovely?

Walking farther at the sidewalk of Limmatstrasse, I just enjoyed looking at the buildings behind the trees... like this...

 and these... 

until we reached the tram station near Klingenpark and the Museum fur Gestaltung.

By this time, we were approaching Parkhaus Hauptbahnhof near Sihlquai.

Then we reached the Tram Station at Hauptbahnhof where we stopped for a while.

We had to take heed at nature's call. We surveyed the area around. Checked Starbucks but changed our mind. St. Gallerhof was closed. 

We entered another building still at Hauptbahnhof. 

Inside the building, we saw Einstein's famous equation. 
But wait, can somebody tell me what's wrong with it? 
 Well, my husband, being a mathematician, of course, didn't let this pass. (Afterall, mathematics is the very reason that brought him to Zurich!) He had to bring this equation home!

We've been going around the area several times, yet we couldn't find a public WC. Since it was almost 10:00 am we thought it was time for us to sit down to claim that much needed rest after all the walking we've been through since 7:00 am. We also thought it was time to fill our stomach with anything edible yet affordable AND use the WC at the same time!!! 

 Before                                                   After
Well, we did hit two birds with one stone at Blueberry! Our tummies satisfied, our bladder relieved! Happiness to the max! :) :)

Oh, I think we have gone far enough.  Don't you think you also deserve a special treat after keeping us company for almost two hours?! Well, we can find each other after a break. Keep yourself posted for the second half of the trip, this time, we will be cruising along Limmat River. See you again soon!