Montmartre & Orientation Flights

Montmartre & Orientation Flights

Last week, if you recall, Dominic and I were in Melun for Bible School. We then headed into Paris for a bit of time together… that’s where I’ll pick up today, before telling you about a first-time visitor to church and a lesson the bees taught me.

Montmartre

When I asked him what he’d like to see or do…. he immediately indicated that a visit to Sacré Coeur would float his boat.

From the Anvers metro station, we climbed the 222 steps of rue Foyatier which put us near the foot of Sacré Coeur… but we weren’t done. Before visiting the inside of the church, we climbed 300 more steps up to the top of the church’s tallest white dome. (Narrowest. Stairway. Ever – see middle pic of Dominic)

Did you know?

Some ice cream sellers line the inside of your cone with chocolate or caramel sauce so that if you run out of ice cream, you’re not just left with dry cone. Brilliant!

We wandered around Place du Tertre where artists will immortalize you in charcoal, watercolor or various other media. You better bargain though or you can easily get overcharged. Dominic contemplated getting one, but decided against it when he wondered where he’d hang a poster-sized image of himself.

A Bit of Canada

In this photo, you can see the view we had from atop Sacré Coeur. The little black line on the horizon is the Eiffel Tower off in the distance. The day was clear so we could see for miles and miles!

Inside the basilica, one of the statues of Mary was a gift from Canada. It was interesting to see the crests of the Canadian provinces in her crown. Here you can see Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia (New Brunswick must’ve been hiding on the back side of the crown).

It was GREAT to spend some quality time just the two of us. I have a wonderful son.

A first Time Visitor

Since I usually sit on the front row, I don’t always see people come in after service has begun. I may hear the main door close or sometimes I’m aware of rustling behind me so I know that someone has arrived. Depending on where we’re at in the service, I’ll turn to welcome them as Liz & the kids are leading worship.

This time it was someone new; a bit of a rough-looking-character-all-cleaned-up. I welcomed him to church and we went on with service. Afterwards, he was the last one to leave and told us a fair bit of his story. God has already done an incredible work in his life and he’s been looking for a church where people could look past his past. One of our men had told him about our church and he was on a bit of a reconnaissance mission.

His experience was positive. Let’s see what the Lord will do – I’ll keep you posted. For now, just pray for George and his family.

A Lesson from the Bees

On Thursday I had a couple of free hours and had a few things to do around the beehives. Since we’re moving into the fall season, the hives have generally been fairly quiet. Activity is constant, but certainly not at a feverish pace.

None of the hives were particularly busy that day and this one in particular was actually a bit more quiet than usual. Not thinking anything of it, I continued to putter.

Roughly thirty minutes later I was back around that same hive and this is what I saw:

The hive had gone completely crazy… but it wasn’t as crazy as it might appear at first glance. Look closely and you’ll see that the bees generally aren’t coming & going, but just buzzing around, within a fairly small radius, in front of the hive.

What you’re seeing are mostly young bees on an orientation flight. Young bees have a highly organized “career progression” IN-side the hive before exiting the hive for the first time at around 21 days old. This first flight is referred to as an orientation flight.

They all come out together and spend 5-15 minutes flying in front of the hive, facing the entrance. This is how they program their internal GPS to know where home is – by registering the position of the sun, magnetic field etc. Their sense of home is so strong and accurate that they can forage for up to 5km and come straight home. If I were to move the hive by only a couple of meters however, they wouldn’t find it because the hive is no longer at “home location”.

What’s the Lesson?

The bees reminded this week that in order to know where “home” really is for each one of us, we need only examine what we focus on. Looked at another way… what we focus on reveals what’s important to us.

A honeybee cannot exist without the rest of the colony. So the hive is of utmost importance. It therefore fixates on it in order to always be able to come back.

What do I focus on? What occupies my thoughts… my time… my energy? That reveals what’s important to me. Am I preoccupied only with the things of this world and the cares of day to day life? If so, I’m showing that eternal life it occupies relatively less real estate in my mind. When the rubber meets the road… it’s less important.

On the other hand, if I am continually “homing in on” eternity, keeping things of eternal value in mind, I’m revealing that that is truly home.

When I talk about things of eternal value, I’m not even just talking about family, friends, joy or peace (although they’re not completely unrelated)… I’m talking about the Lord. If he is at the center, of course those other things will be affected, but he needs to be at the center… over and above the rest.

Lord help me… I’m not always there yet.

This week… be like the bees and home in on what’s important. Our source of life is the Lord.

14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. 15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. 17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy…
Hebrews 13:14-17 (NLT)


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