Enjoying life on holiday, often people do find more time to reflect about life, what we have done and how everything went, not only the last year but also the previous years.
Even when we travel later in Summer or even when the astronomical Autumn has started already, we can be able to find the fullness of summer in the South of Europe. Even in the Ardèche these weeks we are able to feel the warmth of the sun. The trees on Mont Lozère are mostly still fresh shining green. But here and there we already notice the changing colours, the golden leaves telling us Autumn is looming around the corner.
The fields show that there was an abundance of harvest.
In the rugged and isolated Cévennes region an ethnoreligious group of French Protestants following Calvin got hostility from the Roman Catholics. From 1562 to 1598 a series of religious conflicts, known as the French Wars of Religion, were just the beginning having the Huguenots going in hiding in the mountains. The Edict of Nantes could bring some peace between the followers of Calvin who travelled to cities ass Privas, Aubenas, St. Jean-du-Gard and Anduze.
When in the 17th century most rights were taken away again, and the Edict of Fontainebleau (1685) removed all rights and protections, there followed about twenty years of persecutions. Reformed worship and private Bible readings were outlawed. Within weeks of the new edict over 2000 Protestant churches were burned, under the direction of Nicholas Lamoignon de Basville, the royal administrator of Languedoc, and entire villages were massacred and burnt to the ground in a series of stunning atrocities.
The Huguenots resisting the French Catholics wore a type of linen smock or shirt known as a camisa (chemise) in the Occitan language, that peasants wear in lieu of any sort of uniform, and therefore were called Camisards.
In the Cévennes region there has been fought so hard to keep a certain faith, it were the Catholics who won after a battle which took so many lives in the 17th century and in the battle from 1702 until 1705, even when it were people who also believed in the Trinity and wanted to show their love for Christ. Though, those Camisards with 2500-3000 fearless peasant sons had no chance against the 30 000 soldiers of Louis XIV his royal army. But they could keep it so long because the Cévennes with its peaks over 1,525 m (5,000 feet), and caves and shelters in remote places gave them much advancement to the army which had no knowledge of the landscape.
In Le Pont-de-Montvert, in the heart of the Parc National des Cévennes, Abbe du Chaila, François de Langlade du Chayla (c. 1647 – 24 July 1702), inspector of the missions, and arch-priest, as he was called, of the Cevennes tortured those who refused to convert to Catholicism. For some years past groaned under most cruel persecution the Camisards took revenge and killed him in the night of July 25, 1702. This was the outbreak of militant resistance movement to oppression and compulsive conversion.
Can you imagine how people who wanted to read the Scriptures were made life difficult? To make sure not to many civilians would read the Bible the army had not found it better to oblige the citizens to give shelter to the soldiers. That way they could report to their superiors when they would find some people reading the Bible. At the same time the local population was made poorer by having to feed the soldiers and giving them accommodation.
The Roman Catholic Church did not want people coming to read the Bible, so that they could find what was really written in it. By having the Book of books to read in secret, it made it more special to search for and to come to know why the Catholic Church was so much against people knowing what would be in it.
Taking more time to read the Bible serious Bible Students found how the Roman Catholic Church got the people being misled, and had imposed the civilian population false doctrines to keep them under coercion or control.
Looking at the Roman Catholic Churches in this region now, we can only notice how lots of those churches only offer a service twice in a quarter of the year. On photographs of the 20th century we still can see full churches. Today there are even villages where there is no Christmas mass service given (for many a high holiday). Clearly a sign of the time, there being no interest any more in that Word of God nor in the service for God.
Centuries ago the bleak hills of the Cévennes were the birthplace of a search for Biblical Truth. From those who were imprisoned and tortured there were people who found the Christ being the way to God and not being the God, but being the son of God. During the time of persecution, the Protestant community was forced to keep the meetings secretly in a remote area. With a reference to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, in the Cévennes and the Languedoc, they chose the name “église du désert” or “church in the wasteland”.
Today, there is no reason at all to secretly propose a true exercise of faith to people.
On the contrary, it is high time in the fall season of these appointed times to call on people to get to know the Word of God better and to come to a true experience of faith, according to God’s wishes.
Like the landscape here in the South of France now start presenting several shades and marvellous colours, people of true faith, have to show others all that beauty is given to mankind to enjoy but also to see the Sovereign Divine Maker of it all.
Too many people wait much too long. They think those matters are alright to think about when they shall be retired. But do know when one waits until one comes in the autumn of life to make a real search for the truth and coming to know Christ and his God, one shall have missed a lot of beauties and beatitudes.
Though many people may still look awkward and not be pleased with you going another direction, today there is no reason any more to be afraid of being tortured. There is also no reason to let others know you believe in Jesus, the son of God. I do agree, one can perhaps being considered an outcast or not of this world, but that is what Christ and God expect from us, not to be of this world, but being from the world of God. The friendship with this world is not going to bring you so far as you might think.
Not being conformed with this world shall bring much more peace in the heart you might imagine. God has so much to offer. The world of today misses so much, because it has closed the eyes for the richness that God may bring in life. It is up to lovers of God to show mankind has to change its ways and has to return to God.
These months may belong to Autumn, but in our heart we should carry the Spring. Throughout our days whilst we develop, we nurse spring within us, the vibrant promise of life to come, the undying hope which sustains our mortal spirit. By the hope we may have because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we face the satisfying plenitude of life in Christ.
The threat of winter and of the cold sleep, which may be looming behind the door, do not worry us, because the ground is warmed by a transforming hope, a confidence in the mercy of God. Having us being thankful for what we could have in our life and for the things we still may accomplish. Also, having the assurance of our faith for the things to come.