On a cold rainy overcast morning last week, Robyn and I took a short walk uphill from our apartment in the Latin Quarter of Paris to stand at the front door of an apartment building where Ernest Hemingway, the prolific American journalist and author lived with his wife in the roaring 1920’s. In 1964, his memoirs of these days in Paris were released by his family under the title of “A Moveable Feast”, interestingly enough once again after the terrorist attacks in Paris this book has become a best seller.
The phrase “a moveable feast” seems fitting for our trip to Paris last week, which marked our celebration of our baby girl Madison graduating from high school. What had started out to be a trip of three ballooned into a traveling party of seven (my wife and three daughters Kalie, Lorin, and Madison, along with two of Madison’s close friends). So do the math, I went to Paris as the chaperon of six beautiful young women. Talking about dying and going to heaven! Some of you may remember the days from long ago when after a vacation a friend or family member would sit you down to show you the slides of their trip on a tiny screen in the living room using a carousel slide project, well sit back and enjoy (or endure) a few reflections with devotional twists from my own “moveable feast.”
After a long red eye flight from El Paso to Paris by way of Dallas, we step off the plane blurry eyed and tired. We are ready to get to our apartment but first we must make our way through customs. Customs goes smoother than expected and Robyn had arranged for a shuttle service to pick us up but we anticipated a long wait, however the moment we exited customs with our bags we saw a smiling face of a Frenchman holding a sign with Robyn’s name on it. He welcomed us in English and in a matter of minutes escorted us to a Mercedes Benz van with leather captains seats, and a large cargo hold which easily held our luggage (remember I am traveling with a large number of beautiful women who need fashion options.) In less than 15 minutes we find ourselves being whisked into Paris. I was stunned as we raced toward the “city of lights.”
As I reflect on that joyous moment of our arrival and seeing Robyn’s name, I thought one day when we will cross over to the other side and the joy we will feel when we see our names written in the Lamb’s book of life. By the way that shuttle service was expensive, but not nearly as expensive as our welcome to the ultimate “city of lights” which Jesus paid for on the cross. Make sure you make arrangements in advance to be picked up then. When you arrive it will be too late.
I witnessed French soldiers carrying machine guns at the ready guarding the entrances to cathedrals, synagogues, and mosques. Sadly in our world today faith divides us and the faithful become targets. Oh how we need the reign of the Prince of Peace.
Like countless others we found ourselves drawn to stand in front of the Bataclan Theatre where 89 innocent people were gunned down by terrorists. With flowers scattered on the ground as a memorial, we were vividly reminded of precious value of life and how quickly it slips through our fingers like a “mist” as the Scripture remind us.
After church on Sunday at the American Church, I spoke with Scott Herr, the pastor, about lessons learned from the darks days in our own community when the streets of Juarez ran with blood. We reflected on how our presence in the city offers hope to the people living in the darkness. Even though the doors of most of the stunning cathedrals stand open all day long mostly tourists enter to snap pictures rather than to pray. May the day never come on our watch when our houses of worship become museums of a long forgotten faith.
As you can see in the “city of lights” Jesus reminded us that the light shines brightest in the darkness. So let your light shine this week!