Should We Be Scared?

snowploughSeen outside our local supermarket on Wednesday afternoon. Do they know something about the weather forecast that we don’t? Should we be worried?!

(It was really just the Essonne Département showing off their lovely new maintenance equipment. It has been getting quite a bit colder though…)

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Following The Shoal… Or The Spirit?

Whilst out for a walk yesterday, part of which was along the Bievre river (in reality a stream) I noticed some turbulence on the surface of the water. To my surprise, even though the water is not that deep, there were shoals of tiny fish, just 5cm to 10cm long.shoal

I watched a particular shoal for a while. Normally they sort of lay in a shallow depression in the stream bed. All of a sudden they would all dart forwards at high speed, for about a metre, then stop. A few seconds later they would all dart off again, back the way they had come, to their little depression in the stream bed. After a short while they would do it all again. And again. And again. And again…

There seemed to be no purpose to their little excursions whatsoever. And they all followed the shoal without question. Apart from one or two rebellious fish, that is.

You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? Are you just darting here and there with the shoal, following everyone else, even though what everyone else is doing is achieving little or nothing for the Kingdom of God?

Or are you listening only for the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit? When you hear His voice, are you willing to swim off in obedience, in a different direction, even though all the other fish think you’re mad?

When we read the Bible, it’s very clear that God’s plans are often radically different to the plans which seem naturally sensible to men and women. It’s the rebellious crackpots (in the world’s eyes) who help to push the Kingdom of God forwards:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, NIV)

I’m determined to keep swimming against the shoal and to see the Kingdom of God push forwards powerfully here in France. If that makes me a rebellious crackpot, so be it!

And you…?

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Joanna exited the bathroom in an excited state. She could hardly contain her joy. “The heating’s come on!” she exulted.

Like a very significant part of Massy, we are on the communal heating system, or chauffage collectif, which provides hot water and also heating. Except the heating is turned off in the Spring. As described earlier, the hot water goes off for about a week in August too, so they can clean the system. It’s all done through giant rubbish incinerators on the outskirts of town. Not a bad idea.

We naively thought that the heating would return sometime in September, probably in the middle of the month at the latest. Nope. OK, end of September then. Nope. To be fair, September was unseasonably warm and we didn’t need heating… but the last week or so has been getting chilly. We’re back in fleeces and jackets outdoors, after weeks and weeks of me in particular only wearing a T-shirt.

So the news of the arrival of the chauffage has indeed made our day beautifully frabjous 🙂

(The title is from from Jaberwocky by Lewis Carroll.)