It’s been, as they say, a bit of a roller coaster of an Easter Sunday…
I arrived at Church this morning, and the table (we don’t really have an altar, per se) was set differently. Instead of the plate with bread and the tray of itty-bitty cups for the wine (grape juice) it was laid with a white cloth and dinner settings for four. Beautiful crisp napery, silver cutlery, glasses filled with wine (grape juice). The theme of the service was to remind us that, although, in the Eucharist, we remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples (as a man) we should also be celebrating the meals he shared with his disciples when he was Christ Ressurrected: the fish, the bread, the honeycomb, the wine that He took. We should, today especially, that we are invited to share these meals also with the Lord: celebration meals.
Then, as we were singing the wonderful Easter hymn “Thine be the Glory” (but in French), there was a bit of a kerfuffle in the pews. The singing died away as we realised that one of the congregation, a 97 year old man, Paul, had collapsed. He was laid out on one of the pew/benches (dreadfully uncomfortable for the guy, I should imagine, as they are so narrow!) The Sapeurs-Pompiers were called, and although it seemed like forever, they arrived in about 10 minutes. By then Paul was stirring, and we all stood around like lemons, not really knowing what to do. I prayed quietly for a while, as I’m sure others did. He was tended to, and then carried off in the ambulance. As I type, I’ve not had any news of his condition, but he was talking (although not very much) as they took him away, so I hope it’s not too bad; please, if you are so inclined, pray for Paul and his family.
The service continued, and I’d like to share with you the Confession of Faith that Claude, who was leading the service, read. I found it profoundly moving; partly, I think, because it seems to echo my own thoughts . I have attempted to translate it, but I may not have caught all the nuances. If Floss, or other French speakers, can help give a better translation, then please do!
Nous croyons en Dieu (We believe in God)
Malgré son silence et son secret, nous croyons qu’il est vivant (despite his silence and his secrets, we believe he lives)
Malgré le présence du mal et de la souffrance, nous croyons qu’il œuvre à notre bonheur (despite the presence of evil and of suffering, we believe he is working for our well being)
Malgré les limites de notre esprit nous croyons en Dieu. (despite the limitations of our understanding, we believe in God)
Nous croyons en Jésus Christ:
Malgré le temps qui nous séparé de l’époque ou il est venu nous croyons en sa parole (despite the time that separates us from the time when he was alive, we believe in his Word)
Malgré nos incompréhensions et nos refus nous croyons en la résurrection (despite our incomprehension and our unwillingness, we believe in the ressurection)
Malgré la pauvreté et la solitude, nous croyons en son règne. (despite poverty and solitude, we believe in his reign)
Nous croyons en l’Esprit Saint
Malgré les offenses* nous croyons qu’il conduit l’Eglise. (Despite its sins* we believe He leads the Church)
Malgré la mort, nous croyons à la vie éternelle (despite Death, we believe in Eternal life)
Malgré l’incrédulité et l’ignorance, nous croyons que le Royaume de Dieu est promis à tous. (Despite unbelief and ignorance we believe that the Kingdom of God is promised to all)
* this isn’t the word Claude has written, but I can’t read his writing, and I can’t work out the word he might have written: nothing in my online French-English dictionary fits. It seems to be affoneurs. Affoler means to be “panic struck”…maybe it is a form of that.
I came home then to share a festive lunch with some friends. I’ve mentioned both Richard and Cathy before, and it was good to catch up with Richard and hear about his experiences in Zambia, and other places too. I’ve said a little more about the menu on my other blog, so you can have your mouth water over there!
Now, I have caught up with you guys too. I’d like to say a Thank You to those who Paused in Lent with Floss: you all gave me lots to think about, and Fraise Lachrymose introduced me to a great Northern Irish group Rend Collective Experience. Go over to her blog to find their music. I love it.
Rend Collective Experiment here’s a link to a YouTube video, “Movements”
I’m running fast and free to You, because You are the movement and fight in me, I’m running fast and free to You because You’re my home…Where I want to be…