Two posts today as it's Sunday (to make up for no posting yesterday!)
I had lunch at the Galle Face Hotel today. This is one of the most civilised experiences to be had on planet earth. The atmosphere is distinctly old colonial, the service is friendly and unassuming – and completely wonderful. The food is great and the view is to die for. 50 feet from our table the rollers crashed on the beach in the bright sunshine.
My mother danced and drank G+ts here during the war. Her memories of it right up to her death were fond and vivid. I always visit when I'm here.
I was hosted by a charming couple and the family matriarch, a dominant force in Sri Lankan Baptist life who is also a vice president of BWA. She is lovely, great company, full of conversation – even waxed lyrical about how amazing Michael Jackson was having watched his memorial service on CNN – but I imagine she is not someone to mess with.
He spoke of his parents coming to dances here at the Galle Face in the 1940s - who knows maybe they met my mum. The couple also had their wedding reception here many years ago.
At the Galle Face they employ a boy (he looked no older than 16), dressed in waiter’s uniform, complete with bow tie and starched shirt, who’s sole job is keep the crows off the guests. To do this, he is armed with a sturdy catapult and he spends his time patrolling the grass by the veranda aiming at crows and occasionally letting off whatever ammunition it is he fires. What a great job for a boy of a certain age! I have to say, he didn’t look too happy – the task is hot and somewhat unrewarding.
This evening I spoke at a seminar at William's church for young couples on family life. I spoke for 40 minutes (William took half that time translating) and then was questioned for an hour and a half. They asked some pretty searching questions. It was a hot and stimulating evening - once again rounded off with great food.
I got back to the college thinking I have a pretty great assignment at the moment (as people keep calling it here). It's a huge privilege to share the lives of these lovely people and have a modest input into their development as disciples. Tomorrow the assignment begins in earnest - 17 MDiv students for a week immersing ourselves in the social history of the New Testament. How cool is that!