By Jean-François Blancheton
Tranlation Louise Thunin
His parents, Catholics, told Arthur, their son of six, that they were going to the protestant church in the afternoon to pray. His grandmother, originally a Protestant, had died of illness a few days earlier. Standing at the entrance to the church, dressed in black, I did my best to welcome people I didn’t know. Arthur walked up, looked at me and asked directly, « What’s a minister ? »
This question required an immediate and simple reply. I took the following risk : « A minister is someone who talks about God. » Once again at home, I asked myself, « Yes, indeed, what is a minister ? » Do you need to be a minister to talk about God ? Of course not ! So ? I come to think nonetheless that, considering the age of the child, it wasn’t the worst of answers. The Reformed Church, during my studies, several years ago already, had explained the role of a minister to me. But then, I had to answer Arthur in a few words. I gave up the employment profile and entered the realms of personal history, and I discovered that it would have been easier to answer Arthur if he had asked his question this way : « Who is a minister ? »
Yes, who is it ? It’s a man, a woman, it’s I, who, having been seduced by Christ and his Gospel, wanted to witness to the good fortune we have to know we are loved by the God he shows us. To be a witness, in personal words and actions, simple gestures. This minister that you see, Arthur, is that man who, having one day met a witness of the Good News, Pierre Valdo, decided to direct his life in the service of freedom; it’s indeed that man who, former Companion in the Emmaüs community, had the good fortune to hear God « speak » to him about the poor. That’s what I could have told you, Arthur, if we had had the time ! There is no prototype for a minister, only women and men who are ministers with their personal histories.
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