Pray always. Really?

Yes, that’s a question. Really? Always?

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I was sitting in the ‘New York New York’ cafe/bar on Allee de la Liberte Charles de Gaule in Cannes on a Sunday afternoon during the most dramatic storm I think I’d ever run away from.

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I was musing on the faith that exists in the gap between lack and promise (was that from someone else? I can’t remember). My scribbled notes say things like,

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  • the place of faith is misunderstood, so-you-too-will–be-misunderstood
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  • the place of faith is confusing, abnormal, radical, and (in no small way) stupid
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But to put this in context.

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My scribbled notes were made at a table surrounded by about seventy young, confident, French people also sheltering from the storm at other tables. Most of them smoking – yes, indoors. We were under the full length canopy in front of the full length open doors to the bar (see the photo below for a sunny view of my seat…). The front translucent walls had been lowered to keep out the rain.

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Ahh … the rain.

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It rained so hard that it was like fog – visually impenetrable, apart from the lightning. And it was falling so hard on the canopy that it was impossible to hear much else, so the young people shouted a lot. There were candles on the tables, even though it was only four in the afternoon. The candles were partly because the storm made everything so dark, and partly because the rain had fused the lights and heaters under the canopy.

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The thunder was an event all in itself. Every three or four minutes new catastrophic thunder claps rolled over us. Then every minute. Then every thirty seconds. In this almost continuous thundering and beating rain, with everyone shouting and laughing and with a lot smoking and drinking, it was hard not to think of Noah and everyone carrying on as if nothing was happening.

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So I ordered a second double espresso and jotted down some more notes.

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    • faith is the time between the answer and the asking
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Then I closed my eyes, and for a while went into that quiet internal space that allows us to pray in the middle of chaos. Quiet transcendence.

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Maybe a minute. Maybe a few minutes.

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But eventually the noise seeped back in. I realised I was sitting with my eyes closed while God and Noah’s neighbours were playing chicken with the weather. I looked around and laughed out loud at the sheer energy around me.

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I stood up, took my coffee and sauntered  through the tables into a quiet space in the back of the cafe and watched Toulouse beat Leicester Tigers in the first round of the Heineken Cup.

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new york new york

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