Pentecost in Paris

Sunday, May 20, 2018
Paris, Île-de-France, France
This morning we woke fairly rested. I had a good breakfast again and we left earlier for the walk to the meeting hall. I was to see someone who has been preparing for baptism for more than a year. We met at 12:30 when we had access to the hall, and in the course of our discussion it was clear the preparation had been successful. It wouldn’t be possible to baptize him today, it’s a challenge in Paris, but it will be soon, this summer if all goes as planned.
We began our service at 2:00 pm once again. I showed a French version of In Accord in place of the sermonette, and we gave our offering. Then I spoke about Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
There was a special snack after services: tropical fruit salad, a coconut flan, peanut M&Ms and fruit juice. The snack was refreshing and delicious. Our ladies from Martinique know how to choose tropical fruit, they even found a perfectly ripe mango to include, which is a favorite of mine, and hard to get – ripe – in the US.
Again we talked until 6:00 when we finally had to leave the hall. We said goodbye to everyone until August when we should be back through Europe for our annual visiting tour, and Marjolaine and I walked back to the hotel. After changing we walked up the butte to the top of Montmartre which was full of people on a pleasant May evening. We took some photos of Paris from the hill top and searched for a restaurant.
We finally selected an art deco place built in 1900 located on the charming Place du Tertre, a square overflowing with family memories: having croissants and coffee here first thing in the morning, having our daughters sketched by one of the many artists from all over the world who ply their trade here from morning until night, guiding groups of other family members and friends here over the years. Montmartre including this restaurant was frequented by many artists and writers who later became famous, some of whom we had remembered in the cemetery on Friday.
It was a lovely meal, well prepared, and enjoyed to the sound of a pianists singing in French. We ended the meal by sharing a crème brulée for desert. I can’t think of a more pleasant way to finish our brief stay in the City of Light. 
There was a somber note though, the restaurant was hosting soldiers providing security to the crowds that have been targeted by terrorists in Paris in the last months. As we ate, a group of ten or so, armed with bullpups, which the French army likes, filed out, politely greeting everyone as they passed.  They had just finished their meal. In France, even on high alert, one had the right to a three course meal!
Shortly after the first squad of soldiers filed out, another dozen filed in, heading to a table or tables in the back. It’s a shame that such means are necessary, but sadly they are in Paris, and in much of Europe now. Terror has taken its toll of hundreds in multiple attacks.
After dinner we had a pleasant stroll through the hilltop, over to the Basilica of Sacré Coeur, a monument to the contentious entry of France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and to the Paris Commune of 1870-1871, which refused the French surrender to the Prussians and which tried to install communism in Paris. It ended in a civil-war bloodbath. The Basilica’s construction was intended to heal those wounds.
We walked through the pedestrian streets, through tourist crowds speaking, it seemed, all the languages of the world. Finally we wound our way back down to our hotel.
Tomorrow we will head on to Nairobi where if all goes as planned we’ll spend one night.


Jason H

Thanks again for letting us tag along. We enjoy the updates on our brethren in France. Safe travels!


'We're glad you had a pleasant Holy Day with the group there and safe walking through favorite spots.