It’s happened again. Another attack in Paris, this time directed at police officers and along the famous Champs Élysées. Such events, along with the political rhetoric that’s being whipped up at a frenetic pace in the closing hours of a national election (the first vote of which happens tomorrow), make for a bit of a toxic cocktail. But interestingly enough, I’ve been reading about the life of France’s King Henry IV (16th century) and we see that there really is nothing new under the sun.
France’s Wars of Religion
I’m going to try to condense a great deal of 16th-century history into a few short lines.
The man who would become France’s King Henry IV was a French protestant nobleman who, it was decided, would wed King Charles IX’s sister Margaret, a Catholic (and distant cousin). The hope was that their union would help quel the ongoing war between Protestants and Catholics. The night of their wedding day however (August 23 1572), Catholics in Paris were so outraged that a wave of targeted killings took place and estimates say that between 5,000 and 30,000 French protestants were killed. It was the Saint-Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.
Henry saw many of his friends and mentors lose their life and this no doubt partly inspired him, upon accession to the throne, to draw up the Edict of Nantes, granting French protestants substantial new rights that had long been denied them.
Although the edict was signed in the city of Nantes, the architects of the text prepared it in a small city of western France called, Châtellerault. This should sound familiar… it’s where we live and work.
The Moral of the Story
The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre comes to mind today because, at that time, hatred ruled (both in discourse and in interaction) and neither side represented well what it meant to follow God. Religious extremism did great damage to the cause of Christ and besides those who lost their lives, there were many other casualties; though they kept their lives, they lost their faith because of what they saw done in the name of religion.
God help us to represent well, with our actions (and our social media feeds), the God that we proclaim with our mouths.
We are in Châtellerault in the hopes that, just as it did in the 16th century, this little city in western France can once again play a role in the religious makeup of this region and this great country.
Last Sunday was, of course, Easter Sunday. We were thrilled to have a young couple with us that we only get to see roughly once per month because they live a fair distance away. She is a worshiper and her husband is more and more open to God. We thank God for the progress we see in their life. They recently had a child are had an initial discussion with us about planning the child’s dedication.
Liz made turkey dinner (with one of the 5 turkeys that we got at Christmas time… the only time you can purchase whole turkeys in the stores) with all the fixins, and after a nap we had dessert out on the patio for the first time this season. It was a beautiful day, albeit there’s still a slight chill in the breeze.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when praying for us this week.
- Tomorrow is the first round of voting in France’s national election. The top two winners (out of 11 candidates) will face of in a run-off election May 7th. After “Brexit” this will be a key election for Europe.
- I leave tomorrow for a few days in Amsterdam where I’ll be attending Revival By Design, a series of evangelism-focused workshops facilitated by missionary Mark Shutes.
- Pray for the local church in Châtellerault. God desires to do a work but there is regular opposition spiritually speaking, but God has a perfect plan.
Well… I missed the last Short Term Missions Monday post which should’ve published on April 10th. Argh… shame on me. On one hand, this Monday’s post will be a follow-up to the last STMM post “STM can be Frustrating.” This one is entitled: Short Term Missions can be… HUMBLING
That’s all for now.
Thank you for stopping by today and
may God bless you as you grow in and through Him!