A Mystery Worshipper in Paris

Just by way of refreshment of memory, I thought it might be nice to go to Church yesterday. There are zillions to choose from. All Catholic. My views on papist heresies are worthy of a Camisard and will doubtless earn me several thousand years more in Purgatory, probably shovelling incense droppings or some such. It was something of a relief to discover that there were other establishments more in tune with what passes for theological reflection in my fevered brain, and I selected the American Church in Paris as a suitable venue, not least because it advertised a service at 1:30 in the afternoon and I didn’t get up till noon. This from their web page.
“Our contemporary services are an exciting and fulfilling way to worship God in a different, less traditional setting. With a relaxed and dressed-down atmosphere, the one-hour contemporary service is led by our pastoral staff and includes modern praise singing, led by a song director. The sermon, which is the same sermon given in the traditional services, is presented by one of our pastors.”
I relaxed. I dressed down (principally because I don’t remember how to dress up) and presented myself at the appointed hour on the quai d’Orsay. I wasn’t altogether encouraged to be greeted by endless rows of creaking Victorian pews, but haemorrhoids notwithstanding, I parked myself and adopted a suitably churchlike expression, amusing myself with the current copy of the church magazine. The worship band wasn’t bad, actually, but regrettably, nobody seemed to have quite got the hang of the notion that in a worship service, the idea is to, well, join in and worship a bit. They were using great material, the projection was clearly visible from the back, but the congregation, of variegated age and nationality, had a spectator mentality, hardly sang at all and actually applauded at the end of one of the songs. I know someone whose patience would have worn a bit thin after the second song (Here I Am To Worship) and almost certainly would have, let’s say, been a bit forceful with the assembled multitude. The youth pastor was a middle aged woman called Ginger who preached convincingly on the parable of the wedding banquet from Luke 14, which I thought entirely appropriate. ‘Coffee Hour’ was advertised but I didn’t go, simply because nobody actually pointed out where it was. I went to the museum on quai Branly instead.



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3 thoughts on “A Mystery Worshipper in Paris

  1. Come baaaaaack… We do a great version of “Here I am to Worship” and being “a bit forceful” with a “variegated congregation” has pretty much done away with the whole spectator thing. lol

    PS We've now got two clarinets, an oboe, several guitars (including yours) three pianists, and new possibilities for leading. Hoo ha.

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  2. I was thinking the other day about the warty old idea of 'revival'. You know what – I still believe in it, as a functional Kingdom reality. People use different words, like 'visitation' these days but the principle seems constant. God Shows Up. I wonder what would happen if…

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