Sunday, 2 December 2007

Advent service in Oullins

I led worship and preached at Lyon-Oullins this morning and really enjoyed it. It's a while since I've led a full service with communion in French and it was an important reconnection for me. It was good to be in the parish's new worship room too, which was a set of very dilapidated garages last time I was there! We had fun with the music with a saxophonist and flautist busking rather well when the pianist had to go out unexpectedly with his young daughter.
I didn't preach a very literary sermon but I tried to weave stories from the world church into reflections on the Bible readings. you can read my attempts (and others) at beginning to get towards a sermon on the desperate preacher website. I used to go there quite regularly when I was preaching once or twice a week. I found the lectionary forums very useful, reading back forums is only possible if you pay now but it's a really useful resource and I sometimes think I should set up something similar in French - but then Francophone Protestants all tend to know each other wheras the joy of the English speaking forum is that it's relatively anonymous.
We follow the Roman Catholic lectionary most weeks in the French Reformed Church which means that apart from the Psalms we almost never read anything other from the Hebrew scriptures than Isaiah, some bits of Jeremiah and the occasional bits of Genesis and Exodus - (I am rather over exagerating but I do wonder sometimes). Anyway this morning I rather liked the fact that the tone of judgement came from the gospel reading in Matthew 24 and grace came from the "old" testament Isaiah version of the swords into ploughshares text. Swords into ploughshares is one of my favourite texts, as (in the Micah version) it was the slogan of the independant peace movement in former East Germany. Vigilance and peacemaking seem good themes for the start of Advent.
Working on the Matthew text also helped me gain a little perspective on the crazy way I lead my own life, it's a challenge to all of us who can't see the wood for the trees sometimes and get almost obsessed with the banality of getting on with stuff.
Anyway no more for now, off to watch that great peace-maker (not) Tony Blair on the telly.
Oh yes the painting in the photo is by a local Lyon artist who used to live in the parish house in Oulins. I'll try and find out what her name is.


liturgy said...

It's great to see so many different traditions following essentially the same readings


Jane said...

Hmm I know but maybe we do need to read something other than just the parts of the Hebrew scriptures which we deem speak of the Messiah...
Big debate I know
Thanks for reading