We enjoyed our eventful first month in the Agapé Hub! The art exposition displayed there will change every two weeks, thanks to the dynamic Agapé Art team. Since there is always an exposition in place people passing by or friends are welcome to come in and visit. We're surrounded by artwork as we work which is beautiful and provides a great backdrop for video calls! As well as serving our teams, it already proves to be a gathering place for scores of people drawn to the different ministries in Paris. Having a central space has been a dream for a long time, and now that we have it we're surprised how much we use it, a little like that tool you always seem to reach for and can't imagine how you got by beforehand. There have been two special events to express a warm welcome to people in the neighborhood and friends of the ministry. I was there for the open house Saturday afternoon. The Hub was comfortably full, with some looking at the canvases on the walls, others grabbing a drink or snack, and everyone was chatting, pulled together by the warm embrace of hospitality. Efrem represented Crescendo France by playing three songs on his flute. Davis recited a couple poems, one which was written specifically for the event. Then Efrem's flute was joined by a piano and drums for an impromptu jazz trio. Everyone loved it! A video was displayed that presented the digital creations team's work. Agapé Paris is now present, approachable, and able to shine the light of the gospel more effectively!
A few weekends ago May and I walked over to see the Arc de Triomphe wrapped up in blue and silver woven cloth and red chord. It was a temporary installation, only there for two weeks, using 25,000 square meters of fabric and costing fourteen million euros (about 16.2 million in dollars). I'm not sure what inspired the French artist Christo, who died in New York last year, to want to package up such a massive monument, but it certainly looked surreal. Was it an attempt to make it look more appealing or does it reflect a desire to conceal or hide? How does it strike you? Another piece of street art appeared this summer on a route I walk every week on the way to the vegetable grocer, a colorful and striking lion looking out from a black background. It makes me think of Aslan, the lion who isn't safe, but who is good. Art can speak to us in strong ways and is a powerful lever to move society. It is a conversation that uses a different language and reaches us at different levels. As Francis Schaeffer wrote, "A Christian's life is to be an art work, a thing of truth and beauty in the midst of a lost and despairing world."