Vung Tau is home to the largest statue of Jesus in the world, at 32 meters it is six meters higher than the one in Rio (Brazil).
We had try to climb up the statue two days ago, walking up the small mountain only to discover the stairway within the statue is closed for two hours in the middle of the day, exactly when we had arrived, of course.
So today was the day. Again we went by the smaller Biblical statues lower on the mountain... depicting some of the happiest prophets I've ever seen. I'm sure I've never seen a Moses with a big grin on his face before, although it mirrors something I once saw in Jerusalem, at the Wailing Wall, where grey-bearded orthodox Jews had gathered to dance their joy in commemoration of Shavuot, the giving of the Ten Commandments.
There's also one of the jolliest depictions of the preaching of the Beatitudes I've ever seen. And why not? Jesus was talking about deep happiness, blessedness, joy. Maybe a bird or two and lambs and a batch of kids did frolic, to hear about God's topsy-turvy hand-out of blessings to the poor, the sad, and those reaching out to taste a better world.
And then we came to the foot of Jesus: Note the scale of things... those are people peering out over the top of his shoulders!
It was a bit of a squeeze to walk up the last 133 steps. We were glad we were the only Western-sized tourists that day - we definitely would have been in trouble otherwise.
And at the top we were rewarded by a view of Jesus with Asian eyes, and the sense of seeing things from the perspective of resting on His shoulders. Hmmm. Not a bad way to look back upon the year that was, 2013, and ahead to the year starting up in a few hours, 2014.
Jesus according to Matthew 11:28-30
The Message (MSG)
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”