‘God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end’ (Ecc 3:11)
Yesterday we visited a village called ‘Saint Paul de Vance’. The village is more than five hundred years old and it is said to be the most beautiful village in France. The streets are narrow and the houses are built in the mountain stone. The painters and sculptors love this place because the day light is purer than in other places making the colors look brighter (so they say…). Over the centuries Picasso and many other famous artists lived and died there. Even now, most of the houses are occupied by them displaying their works for all to see.
The inhabitants do not want their village to become a town. It is still a small place with a feel of a real village. Each house is beautified with flowers and pretty things on the doors. The name of the streets is written on stones hung on the walls… The village is like a picture from a story book for children. It is very very nice…
As we were moving on the narrow streets I was asking myself what can I learn from such a beautiful place? What can be the secret behind such an old but well preserved, happy, clean, inspiring, peaceful, romantic and lovely place? Suddenly I saw the name of a street written on the stone: ‘Rue du Saint Esprit’ (meaning the Street of the Holy Spirit). ‘That was it!’ (I told myself). This is the lesson I was longing to remember. It is only the Holy Spirit who is able to make all things bright and beautiful. It is only the Holy Spirit who makes old things look fresh. It is only the Holy Spirit who is able to attract musicians, poets and artists to sing praises to our God.
To the tourists that go there to see the village, they may not know the secret of its magnetic spiritual beauty. But for me, it is clear. I am not a tourist. I am a worshipper of the Lord Jesus Christ who needs fresh drops of oil of gladness daily, wherever I go. Even the name says it all. They did not name the village for any great artist but they call it Saint Paul!!! This can’t be a coincidence! To me, today, this little French village hidden in the rock is a reminder of how wonderful and powerful our God is. Jesus, You are beautiful to me! This holy reminder comforted, strengthen and encouraged me! Hallelujah!!!
‘All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well!’
(C F Alexander)