It's humbling to see the democratic process in motion in another country when we know how fragile the whole voting process is around the world of emerging (or re-constituting nations). Then they walked back to the car and we drove to church together.
It was amazingly unemotional and normal. He has served there for about 6 years and is much loved. The sanctuary sits above the parsonage and both buildings are from the 18th century. Yves' wife spent 9 years in the church when her father served it when she was just 3 months old. Two families devoted chunks of their lives to a congregation and very little was made of it. Maybe I expected more emotion (I know I had profound emotions for each of the churches I left to go serve another one.). Yves just got up there and preached from Romans 15 about the need to continue welcoming one another as Christ has welcomed us. And it was over. We went to downstairs to their home for a big family meal with their two daughters, two grandchildren and Marylene's father (former pastor there) and his wife. We ate for 3 hours and then us men went to Yves' study to watch the Paris Open together.
I guess the lesson I'm slowly learning is that what I observe is not necessarily what is going on. I did not observe a final sermon like I thought I would, there was something more there, something French, Huguenot, Free Church, and St. Jean du Gard. No slide shows, applause, tears, gifts, tributes, roasts or jokes. Just the church being the church on a rainy Sunday morning.