La Galette des Rois

In the Christian Calendar, Epiphany falls on 6th January. Historically, it celebrated the “revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus-Christ” (Wikipedia). In practice, in France at least, it commemorates the coming of the Wise Men to worship Jesus. It is not a bank holiday, and most people wouldn’t have a clue about this festival, but the tradition is kept by

Galette des Rois Source: u m a m i, Flickr
Galette des Rois
Source: u m a m i, Flickr

most families who eat a sweet cake called “la galette des Rois”. When I was growing up, the time when you could find a galette was quite short. But you can now find galettes throughout January.

“La galette des rois” is a lovely cake. It is made with puff pastry filled with an almond paste. A little figurine is usually hidden in the pastry. The one who finds it is crown king and has the right to choose his/her Queen/King. One tradition is that the youngest of the family hides under the table and chooses who gets which portion.

I love this pudding. It is on the top of my list of favorite puddings, together with Rice pudding.

“Puritan portraits”, J.I. Packer, Christian Focus Publications

I have long been convinced that the Puritans have an important message for us. Yet, I must admit that I lack the motivation to read them more regularly. When I had the opportunity to review Packer’s book “Puritan Portraits”, I took it gladly. I was provided with a review copy, and was not required to write a positive review.

Puritan Portraits
Puritan Portraits, J. I. Packer

[amazon_link id=”B009SA2O16″ target=”_parent” container=”” container_class=”” ][/amazon_link]The book is a collection of essays, most of which have been published previously. They were first written to introduce some classical Puritan works published by Christian Focus Publications in their Christian Heritage collection. These introductions were brought together in that book, with an introduction, two useful chapters on the value of reading Perkins and Baxter, and a conclusion on the usefulness of the Puritans for today.

These are not biographical essays, although there is always a brief biographical sketch of the author. But they provide the historical and theological background needed by 20th century believers to make the most of the works introduced.

Reading “Puritan Portraits” made me want to read more Puritan works this year, and their works will definitely be part of my reading diet. It also made me realise that the preachers who have been most influential in my spiritual life have all been readers of the Puritans.

If you do not want to read the whole book, I would consider getting the Puritan works that Packer introduces and read the essay at the same time. The works introduced are:

  • Henry Scougal: The Life of God in the Soul of Man
  • Stephen Charnock: Christ Crucified
  • John Bunyan: The Heavenly Footman
  • Matthew Henry: The Pleasantness of a Religious Life
  • John Owen: The Mortification of Sin
  • John Flavel: Keeping the Heart
  • Thomas Boston: The Art of Man Fishing
  • Thomas Boston: The crook in the Lot
  • Thomas Boston: Repentance.

Baptismal service

On Sunday afternoon, we had the great joy to witness the baptisms of Pierre and Joseph.

Pierre is in his late 50s, early 60s. He wasn’t brought up in the faith, and came to “religion” in adulthood. He was a dedicated Roman Catholic for many years and knows the Roman catholic system from experience. But he never had peace and kept looking. After a long journey, he has finally found true peace in Christ. He’s been coming to our church for over a year now, and I’ve met him a few times to study the Scriptures together. His wife came to the service, with two of their 7 children.

Joseph is our Pastor’s son. He was brought up in the faith, and accepted most things about God as true. But his testimony highlighted that in spite of this he was rebellious against God. But God eventually saved him.

There were between 30 and 40 people, folks from the church, but also a few unbelievers. The gospel was preached. After the service, people hanged around, chatting away. There was a happy atmosphere. We thank God for the privilege of witnessing these baptism and taking part in the service.