Sunday, May 18, 2014

Finding Solace on a Sunday

Let me be very transparent with you. Last night I returned to the apartment with sore feet, feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, alone, and a little sad. Everything is in French. Don't know what to say to people anymore. What if there's no one to talk to when I really need to discuss my feelings? I don't know if culture shock is setting in or if I just spent too much time outside among too many people yesterday. Either way, I've been feeling a little insecure.

So today I decided to go to church. The American Church in Paris, to be precise. I've decided to push myself to do one new thing/go to one new place everyday this summer, and ACP was it today. Plus I figured that if I can't get rid of the insecurity and discomfort I feel being in this strangewonderfuloverwhelming place, at least I can take some time to find comfort through my faith. And hearing English spoken, that part's important too. The American Church in Paris is a Protestant church whose body has existed for over 200 years this year, and it has existed at its current location for over 80 years.

I took a bus and went to ACP's 13h30 Contemporary Service. And it was really nice! There are literally all kinds of people there, different ages, ethnicities, nationalities, you name it. Some are English-speakres but I noticed that others are not, so I wonder what about ACP attracts them. I'm sure each member of the congregation has his or her own reasons. Everybody there was just so kind! I thought it was especially cute how during the time where they welcome visitors, everyone greats each other with "Peace of Christ" (or was it "Peace of God?"). Senior pastor Scott Herr preached a message based on 1 Peter 2:1-10 and John 14:1-14 entitled "Like Living Stones". His message was about not being so self-confident and self-reliant that we keep ourselves from following God's way. He also talked about how Jesus's love is radical, and how as Christians we are called to witness to others and build bridges with other communities. Going to ACP today was the respite that I needed.

I might take more pictures the next time I go. Since it was my first time going today, I didn't want to disrespect the house of the Lord by treating it like just another tourist attraction. Also, I couldn't ignore the fact we were finished by 2:45pm. That is definitely not what I'm used to. Back home, Black Christians know: if you go to service on a Sunday and it ends in less than 2 hours, then you didn't go to a black church. Haha.

I'm feeling more encouraged now. Going to ACP today helped me to really feel that God is everywhere. Now I'll probably just spend the rest of my day in the apartment writing and looking up places I'd like to visit while in in this city. I know that it might seem that I'm wasting an opportunity to explore Paris on this beautiful sunny day, but I need time to decompress. Give me a break, it's only my fourth full day!

Bread and Butter [Paris] photos

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