Au revoir, Paris: Bert our Dutch, English speaking coach driver was 17 ½ minutes early! I knew right then I was going to like this fellow, and parked and ready in front of the Hotel Minerve. Paid the bill, loaded the coach and we were off for Geneva.
Stopped in the Medieval village of Beaune in the heart of Burgundy wine country, a charming old-world village. Pastor DeMass summarized the differences between Catholics, other protestants, and Calvin’s view of the Lord’s Supper. A wine tour actualy makes heaps of sense; Calvin was the first to serve the Supper in both elements to the congregation, wine included, likely in the caves of St. Benoit, in Poitier. We hiked across the village market , light rain falling, to the Patriache Pere et Fils wine caves, hundreds of years of wine making and a vast network of subterranean cellars. Fascinating, though I didn’t think any of the wines were that stunning (one pinot noir was fine); the per bottle prices, however, were stunning! Grateful for cell phones (what did they do in Calvin’s day without them?). We misplaced one of our travelers for a stretch, but no harm done and everyone happy again.
Arrived in Geneva about 4:30, the coach driver taking us right to the old town and the Saint-Pierre where Calvin preached over 4,000 sermons, the bell tower chiming continuously as we took it all in. We talked about Farel’s anathema called down on Calvin if he would not stay, and about the humility of a man twice Calvin’s age eager to put the best man in this most strategic city. This is Calvin territory everywhere one turns, and Geneva is not unaware of his 500th. Walked past the Hotel de Ville where the City Council voted to accept Reformation Christianity in May of 1536, and where the various decisions were made that would so shape the progress of reformation in the city and throughout the world. Here the council voted to condemn and burn Michael Servetus (Calvin was not even a citizen of Geneva until 1559).
Then to Edelweiss Restaurant for Swiss everything: fondue, pickled onions, cured meats, Swiss wines, alpen horn (Susan Gross and Andrea Mehmel taking a turn, much to everyone’s delight), yodeling, accordion music, cowbells, all in a very Swiss chalet decorated setting. Taxis for the senior members of the tour, back to the hotel, and a good night sleep before what must prove to be one of the most memorable Lord’s Days for all of us.