Today we started by going on a tour through Strasbourg with some professor from an ecumenical institute. He seemed nice, but it was hard to hear him and all but impossible to keep the group together and quite, which I found annoying. We did see the big cathedral, which is beautiful.
After this we went to the place where this guy works and he talked a bunch more. I had to bite my tongue when the question was asked about if the LMCS participates or not. The answer was that they used to contribute $500 a year but that the money stopped for the last 5 years or "since the president changed". The room erupted into whispers of disapproval and negative comments about LCMS. It took everything in my power not to yell out "PEOPLE! Did you not hear him comment that the ELCA hasn't contribute for fifteen years? FIFTEEN. So quit judging the LCMS for not participating." Granted I was the only practicing LCMS person so vastly outnumbered and the ELCA participates in different ways. I personally have very mixed views on ecumenical stuff. I will not get into that here. If you are really that curious, send me an email and we can go discuss it over tea sometime.
From here we went to the church for a concert. I walked into the church and immediately identified the organ as a Silbermann. A quick check of the tour book in the back confirmed this. I learned at our rehearsal that it was newly restored. As in last month. I didn't know. It was too late to schedule time to play it, so it just sat in the balcony peering down and taunting me. By this point I pretty much was done with France and ready to kill someone. (One other person on the choir who is apparently also an organist tried to have a conversation with me. He's been on my nerves this whole trip and I was not about to have a conversation about an organ to someone who doesn't get it (so few people do.... Mr. Jallo will understand where I'm coming from with all of this) so by this point I was so close to my breaking point that I wasn't sure I would make it.
Then we went to lunch, which was decent, but not a lot for vegetarians. By now I was beyond cranky and quickly approaching ugly cranky. I'm sure the lady sitting across for me was very nice, but all I remember is her talking loudly nonstop while chewing with her mouth open and her husband sharing his thoughts about the LCMS, not realizing that I am happily LCMS. I guess God saw fit to test my patience and self control on this day.
After this, one couple said they wanted to go visit the inside of the cathedral, climb the tower, and go to the museum. They said I could come along and I accepted their offer. They were an answer to prayer. It was a great afternoon. They are so nice, and lived in Europe to study cathedral architecture. I could be nerdy about churches because they liked it too. We climbed the 330 steps to the top of the tower and hiked back down.
We went to the most awesome museum which had so much cool stuff. Stained glass, old communion ware, and even statues from the cathedral that were removed and replaced with replicas in order to preserve the fragile originals. Super neat to see this so up close and astonishing how skilled these people were. On the cathedral, they have the virgins and their lamps from the story of the wise and foolish virgins. Some of them were in the museum (replicas now on the cathedral) and there was a big space just big enough to fit in. You all know me and my love of posing with statues and I just couldn't help myself so I posed with them.
Then, on the top floor, I saw it. I walked in and saw it across the room. Time stopped. I was like a moth to a flame. I walked across and looked at the sign on the wall to confirm what I knew. This was a Cranach painting. Man oh man. I stared at that thing forever. I love, love, love his work. I can spot it a mile away. I hadn't expected to see one today but it changed my entire day.
We left that museum and I was a new person. Cranky gone. Maybe coming on this trip wasn't a waste. We ran into some others from our group, including one of my former Concordia profs (there are several on this trip) and enjoyed drinks outside. Ah. Europe. Outdoor cafes and slow pace. We ended the evening with a boat ride and a bizarre light show. Then we found another cafe and talked until midnight.
Thank God for providing awesome people to hang out with today!!!
And France, at least we had some decent time together. We will never be best friends, but we can be acquaintances. I still sorta hate you, but I'll keep that to myself and play nice. PS Don't count on seeing me anytime in the near future.