Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Paddy's Day in Loches

How does an American family celebrate an Irish holiday in a French village? 

Our normal M.O. for St. Patrick's Day is to stay home, wear green, eat a lot of potatoes, but pass on the corned beef. This year we did something entirely different. David was asked by an Irish friend of ours if he would play guitar for an Irish gig at a bar. The group, which included a pianist/guitarist/vocalist (our Irish friend), a flutist (also Irish), a violinist/bassist (who is French), and David (an American) on guitar, played everything from "Be Thou my Vision"-- an old Irish hymn, to Irish folk music, to cover songs by famous Irish rock bands, such as U2 and the Cranberries. Between numbers, the vocalist shared the story of St. Patrick and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Many friends from church were there, and since minors are allowed in bars in France, our boys came as well. The ambiance was amazing; God was most certainly at work. The place was packed out, and at the end of the evening, the bar owners indicated that they were very pleased with the event that they would welcome these musicians back. 

I realize that "bar-ministry" may pose a moral dilemma for some believers. But somehow, I think that Jesus would not have been opposed. He loved being out in the community and He didn't shy away from public places where sinners (like me!) gather. We spent St. Patrick's Day among the people of Loches, sharing joy, fun, love, and truth. As we talked to strangers/new friends(?), we saw barriers come down as they abandoned their view of Christians as hard, boring, and miserable. The bar owners even expressed an interest in coming to visit the church. 

We took the light of Jesus into the darkness, and all who were there were warmed by His presence and moved by His grace.

Here is a sampling of one of the Irish Folk Songs. Enjoy!

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