by Jean-François Blancheton
translation Louise Thunin
For me, hope has a face: that of Jesus of Nazareth, whose words and acts have reached us over space and time. Jesus, the one who goes forth to meet children, women and men just as they are, whatever their histories. He shows us in this way that every person is worthy of being loved by God.
Marcel, in his sixties, is one of those men that life hasn’t spared. After a long life on the road, today he has settled down. Accustomed to the weekly meals organized by the aid committee for years, he expressed one day the desire to attend services. After that experience, he said to me : “ Now, I’ll come every Sunday. ” Never had we exchanged a single word about faith. Now, he comes on his old bicycle, an hour ahead of time, and chats with the first arrivals. We are making our way through the gospel of Mark.
During a service, in May 2015 I believe, when each member of the local church was invited to give his opinion on the future declaration of faith of the United Protestant Church of France, he dared take the floor and say : “Is it possible to be baptized at any age ? Because I never was. ” Clearly, Jesus’ visit to his heart had inspired him on his way toward getting baptized. He thus became for us, members of the church community, a sign that Christ, like a gardener, sows seeds of hope that ask only to germinate. And what if these seeds, sown in the soil of men’s hearts, were hope itself? And what if hope were a progressive rooting of Christ within us ? And what if hope consisted in learning to fully trust the word of God ?
So, in this way, today Marcel has found his place in the community. If, at first, his cheeky humour and provocative look surprised or repelled people, today he fully occupies his own place and converses with all, on an equal footing. Sharing the same humanity. The same dignity. His active participation has led the church to open up, in an unconditional way, to welcoming others. The Kingdom of Heaven is being built each day. Christ goes forth to meet his sisters and brothers and to sow in their lives the sunlight of hope.


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À propos Gilles

a été pasteur à Amsterdam et en Région parisienne. Il s’est toujours intéressé à la présence de l’Évangile aux marges de l’Église. Il anime depuis 17 ans le site Internet Protestants dans la ville.

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