Jerome and Katrin

“I love this place. We are really, really happy here,” she said to me on the way to the train station with tears in her eyes. I understood. I love it too, both because it is a lovely home and because Jerome, Katrin, and their daughter Clementine welcomed me into it so warmly. Last night was my last night under their grace, and I am sad to leave.

Jerome and Katrin are the good friends of my good friend Simon. He was kind enough to introduce me to them via email and to ask if they might host me during my practicum. It was very important to me to stay with a French family. I knew I would learn much more about the culture if I was immersed in it.

More importantly though, I am a earnest believer in the goodness of practicing hospitality, both as a host and as a guest. There are things you learn, things you become when you allow the other into your life. There are things you learn and become when you allow yourself to be the other as well.

Hospitality is at the core of the Gospel. Through Christ, we are welcomed into God’s family. Christ’s body and blood as represented in Communion is the ultimate act of hospitality – Christ literally gives himself for us. In eating and drinking, we respond with a hospitable act of our own, taking Him into ourselves. Furthermore, the Table is a place where all are welcome, and all are made equal in Christ as we eat and drink together. As adopted members of God’s household, when we actively love our neighbors, we are welcoming them into a new way of life in God’s household as well.

Hospitality is everything.

Jerome and Katrin, whether they intended to or not, showed me Christ as they welcomed me into their home with open arms. I have been loved by them, and I am profoundly grateful for their welcome.

I meant to stay with them for the duration of my time in Paris, but because of the unforeseen cost associated with riding the train to and from their town of Chateau Thierry, I am forced to move into the city instead. I’ll be fine. We were able to arrange other accomodations for me here in Paris, but I will not be as comfortable and well cared for as I was with Jerome and Katrin.

I will miss their fruit tree filled garden. I will miss Katrin’s cooking. I will miss the pleasant walk from the train station to their house. I will miss my upstairs room with the window that overlooks the French countryside. I will miss the hour train ride to and from Paris every day, uninterrupted time to think and pray and dream. I will miss their toddling daughter Clementine, a little girl so crafty I would be afraid of her if she weren’t also so darn cute. I will miss Jerome and Katrin, their warmth, their humor, the unexpected goodness they bring into my life every day.

But so is life. I am sure that the second half of my time in Paris will have a much different flavor than my first half, but I’m sure it will be good as well.

(Directly to my left in the picture is their [and my] friend Fred. He is a fixture around Jerome and Katrin’s, and last night he treated Jerome and I to the finest array of spirits I have ever sampled.)

Gene Kelly Was Here

These blog posts were all written in the summer of 2011. They chronicle my time in Paris completing an internship as part of my studies at Fuller Seminary. I worked at an art gallery run by missionary-artists ministering to other Parisian artists and got to know the missionary-artists working there.

I am including them here for you to read because I think they work well together as a series. I wrote them as a kind of narrative collage about what it means to be a practicing artist whose first commitment is to Christ and who seeks to share the love of Christ with other artists.