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Tag: France

“Taste and See That the Lord is Good”. An Easy Prayer Station.

This is an easy idea for a prayer station based around some French sweets.

Ruth and I have spent a lot of time in France. Every time we are there we come back with a few bags of these sweets. I decided to make a prayer station out of them this year for the Estates Evangelism Task Group gathering a couple of weeks ago. I intended to leave it on the table in the bar for anyone to engage with.

I found it unopened in my bag when I got home. There was so much to do I completely forgot about it. Perhaps I’ll take it to church this Sunday. This weekend marks 1 year since General Synod made it’s commitment to our estate parishes. What better way to mark it than with the song Mary sang whilst Jesus was within her womb?

Magnificat sweets from a French supermarket.
Magnificat. Riche en beurre au cœur tendre.

The Magnificat

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; 
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed; 
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.

He has mercy on those who fear him, 
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm 
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,

Casting down the mighty from their thrones 
and lifting up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things 
and sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
to remember his promise of mercy,

The promise made to our ancestors, 
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Luke 1.46-55

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Equipment.

Magnificat bonbons.
Laminator.
Small Basket.
Candle.

Going to Church for the First Time


We wandered to the imposing door as we watched the couple in front of us get met at the door. I turn to Ruth and whisper “he’s turning them away”. After a brief interaction they are granted entry. We tentatively approach the elderly guardian at the portal. 

In uncertain French Ruth boldly states “We are here for the mass”. 
“Are you sure?  Lots of people say that they are here for the mass but get up after ten minutes and wander around” replies the keeper of the door.

We nervously exchange glances and search for words in an unfamiliar lexicon. “Yes, we’re definitely here for the mass”. 

“Well if you have problems just go to the back”. 

“Ok”. 

We enter the darkened medieval nave and find a hard and narrow pew on which to place our posteriors. The gate keeper says ‘the back’ so how far are we allowed to approach the holy of holies?  Half way seems appropriate. There is no indication of what may happen next.  No card. No screen. Ruth texts me a link to some wording in a strange and foreign tongue. A bell chimes. An organ booms. I look at the strange words. I wonder how I got here. Perhaps the sentry was right. There’s nothing for me here.

This morning we went to church at The Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus in Carcassonne. As a priest it was a fascinating look into how daunting it is to go to church for the first time. We have only been learning French for a couple of years so don’t have the language to understand what is going on. At the door we were met with questions we didn’t quite understand at an imposing doorway about whether we were worthy of entrance.  There was nothing to indicate what would happen during the service. Fortunately we know the shape of the liturgy and how to find rudimentary wording online.

It was a lovely service and I think I understood about a third of the sermon and my theological French is improving vastly.  But I’m a priest and I found it daunting to gain access to the building, much less the worship.  Medieval Carcassonne is a phenomenally touristy place but there must be ways to engage occasional visitors with the worship of the church. 

Much to ponder about how we invite people into the presence of God.