Newly arrived from the desert, it’s quite a change to be surrounded with culcha again. I had intended to return to Hillsong and made it with squeaking room to spare and almost twenty minutes late. The video link above is a little bit boisterous but, nonetheless shook a few cobwebs out; you get the idea. People often write a lot of hype about Brendan White’s sermons being all over the place and lacking in focus – he’s the guy who wanders onstage clutching a Bible half way through “God is Able” on the video – but he leads a young, vibrant, enthusiastic congregation with vision and can be forgiven for a few lapses in theological rigour. Not so this week; the litmus test of good preaching is that it tends to stay in one’s thoughts and today was quite exceptional. Author of “The Call of God,” Christian Robichaud who has a Quebecois accent and a worldwide ministry to the poor and dispossessed, was talking about the gift of faith and the fact that Abraham was considered to have been perfected in it. I left a little early to rendezvous with Gipsy who had a few errands to run, then remembered I wanted to get the live DVD, so popped back in – they do hang about for ever, these Church types – and almost tripped over Brendan and the guest speaker in the foyer. Brendan said “I’ve seen you before, haven’t I?” Since I had not met him before and hadn’t set foot in the place for almost three months, I thought this no mean feat and since we found ourselves in conversation I told him that I had probably travelled further than anybody else to be at the meeting and that my presence probably raised the average age by a couple of months. He laughed and slapped me on the back in a brotherly, Antipodean kind of way. It was interesting too, that the guest speaker was quite unaware that it was Eid al Adha, the festival which commemorates the sacrifice of Isaac. I remarked that there might have been a stray Muslim or two in the crowd who needed to hear it.
A wander in the Parc de Bercy was a welcome open space – the grass-walled Omnisports stadium on one side (Paul McCartney is playing there later this month) and the Cinemathèque Français on the other. Same architect (Frank Gehry) as the titanium covered Guggenheim in Bilbao, it’s where the intellectuals go.