Category Archives: Impressions of France

The Arch of Triumph: Are You Part of the Procession?

sunset-from-the-arch-of-triumphBecause life is short and time precious, eiffel-tower-as-seen-from-top-of-arch-of-triumphon the second day of our quest for the best of Paris the-avenue-des-champs-elyseeswe walked 12.9 miles climbing-down-stairs-in-notre-dame-towerand climbed 52 flights of stairsclimbing-up-the-bell-tower-of-the-notre-dame…but who’s counting, right? (Well, I wasn’t, but Alan’s i-phone was.)climbing-up-the-bell-tower-inside-the-notre-dame We started the morning with a tour of the Notre Dame, powering to the topview-of-paris-from-the-top-of-the-notre-dame of their bell tower for a fantastic bird’s-eye view of Paris, cafe-brasserie-les-deux-palaishad lunch at a quintessential French Café, Les Deux Palaisenjoying-lunch-at-cafe-brasserie-les-deux-palais-paris (notice how Parisiens all face out so they can watch the street scenes), the-musee-dorsayspent much too short an afternoon at the marvelous Musée d’Orsay, fontaine-des-mers-at-the-place-de-la-concorde-parisand ended with an evening stroll through Concord Place,strolling-down-the-avenue-des-champs-elysees down the length of the Champs-Élysées, staircase-inside-the-arch-of-triumphand up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (Arch of Triumph) sunset-over-paris-from-arch-of-triumphto watch a glowing sunset over the City of Lights. celebration-of-arc-de-triompheThe Arch of Triumph was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 relief-of-courageous-generals-at-the-arc-de-triomphe-parisand was the world’s highest arch until 1938,arc-de-triomphe-de-letoile-at-nightalthough it’s probably still the world’s most famous! visiting-the-arch-of-triumph-in-parisAt any rate, it was definitely the arch that I envisioned last Sunday bill-preachingwhile listening to my spiritual big brother, Bill Rudd, preach his last message sun-setting-behind-arch-of-triumphbefore retiring after 48 years of deeply effective ministry. french-flag-under-arch-of-triumphBill reminded us that in Christ we experience victory over Satan, sin, suffering, tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier-by-the-arch-of-triumphand eventually death, triumphal-entry-through-arc-de-triomphe-after-world-war-2and that we are part of a great throng of people who are being led sunset-behind-grande-arche-de-la-defense“in triumphal procession” through life to heaven, french-flag-flying-at-arc-de-triomphespreading “the fragrance of the knowledge of him [Jesus] everywhere.” the-avenue-des-champs-elysees-from-the-arch-of-triumphHis last challenge to us was to constantly grow in our love & knowledge of Jesus the-roue-de-paris-at-the-place-de-la-concorde-in-parisso that we will exude his fragrance wherever we go. statue-in-the-arch-of-triumphAh, to be so intent on experiencing Jesus that I’m willing to walk thirteen miles and climb 52 flights of stairsthe-avenue-des-champs-elysees-paris-as-seen-from-the-arch-of-triumph…not just once, like I did to enjoy the glory of Paris, but every day, riding-home-on-subway-in-parisso that I can share the fragrance of Jesus with those around me!  tomb-to-the-unknown-soldier-at-arc-de-triomphe“Our suffering leads to new opportunities for service.” (William J. Rudd)
“If we’re going to bless, we’re going to bleed.” (William J. Rudd)

sun-setting-through-arc-de-triomphe-de-letoile-parisBut thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
(2 Corinthians 2:14-16, ESV)

(I took all the photos in Paris last spring except for the [unfortunately] blurry shot of Bill, which was taken last Sunday at Calvary Church, Muskegon. The B&W photos were from photos and a relief sculpture right at the Arch of Triumph site.)

The World’s Largest (and Most Luscious?) Museum: Musée du Louvre

standing-in-front-of-the-louvre-museum-parisWhether you experience April in Paris—or Paris in any other season—courtyard-of-loure save a day for the world’s largest (and some say grandest) museum, the Louvre. passageway-to-louvre-museum-courtyardOne could easily get lost in thought within for a week, courtyard-of-the-louvrebut the Louvre deserves at least its own day. ancient-man-at-british-museum-in-londonDon’t do what we did in London years ago! We took a London Bus tour of the city, stopping at various attractions throughout the day, and we were left with only 50 minutes at the end of the day to see the entirety of the British Museum, rosetta-stone-british-museumwhich meant a race to the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles, Oxus Treasure, and Mummy of Katebet, leaving most of their other 8 million works unseen. elgin-marbles-the-british-museumNOT GOOD! (We did rectify such unconscionable inattention on later visits.) la-venus-de-milo-louvreInstead, take time to appreciate the beauty of the Louvre’s timeless treasures. foyer-of-the-louvre-museum-paris If you go, it will be an unforgettable experience! crowds-in-the-louvreAlthough there’s no avoiding the approximate 15,000 tourists who visit daily,
go first thing in the morning,groupe-imperial-en-mars-et-venus-louvre and when your mind starts to fog and your legs ache, lunch-at-the-louvre-cafestop for a leisurely lunchstatuary-on-balcony-cafe-at-the-louvre at their cafe overlooking the museum’s courtyard. view-from-the-cafeteria-of-the-louvre-courtyardThe Louvre contains 380,000+ objects and 35,000+ works of art,spiral-staircase-in-atrium-of-louvre which are showcased in eight major areas within
the 652,000 square-foot former palace of the French kings.aphrodite-louvreBecause one day isn’t sufficient to see everything, you have to pick and choose. lorenzo-lotto-venice-1480-the-woman-caught-in-adultery-louvreI love oil paintings, especially those depicting biblical stories,saint-jean-baptiste-leonardo-de-vinci and there are hundreds of those! le-tibre-louvreJoel loves sculpture, so we all stood mesmerized before many a statue! napoleon-iii-apartments-at-louvreAnother favorite for all of us were the Napoleon III Apartments…ceiling-painting-in-napoleon-iii-apartments-at-the-louvregilded glory retained from the days of Napoleon.staircase-leading-to-nike-of-samothrace-louvreThere are some “must sees,” like the Hellenistic Era masterpiece,  nike-of-samothrace-winged-victory-louvreNike of Samothrace.crowds-photographing-mona-lisa-at-the-louvreOf course, you’ll want to be sure to see the Mona Lisa by Leonardo de Vinci…
not because it’s the world’s most beautiful painting (at least in my mind),
but because it’s the world’s most valuable (insured for about 780 million). mona-lisa-leonardo-da-vinci-louvreConjecturing about enigmatic smiles aside, I’m not sure why this painted lady is the most famous and sought after, but that’s where I want to leave us for today…
pondering what makes something most famous and sought after. carved-casket-louvreHave you ever thought about what makes something precious to you? crowd-in-front-of-mona-lisa-louvreAlthough I’m not one of those who particularly treasures
the world’s most famous lady, “Mona Lisa,” I am totally at one
with the billions who treasure the world’s most famous man.diademe-de-limperatrice-eugenie-louvre-212-pearls-1998-diamonds-paris-1853-louvreThis pearl of greatest price is Jesus, and I revere him above everything else on earth, but not simply because he’s the most famous man in the world. titien-les-pelerins-demmaus-louvre(However, is actually is! Over 2.2 billion people claim his name,
and even the 1.6 billion Muslims at least believe in him as a great prophet!)la-crucifixion-andrea-di-bartolo-solario-lourvreJesus Christ is precious because He loves us. He loved us enough to die for us. bonicacio-depitati-bonifacio-veroneses-the-sacred-family-with-the-saints-louvreJesus is more than man. He is “Emmanuel”… “God with us,”…”God in flesh.” les-mysteres-de-la-passion-du-christ-antonio-campi-louvreJesus  lived a sinless life and died on the cross to save all who come to him in faith, asking him for forgiveness.lorenzo-costa-saint-veronica-with-jesus-graveclothesThis God-man, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead, diadem-j-c-canosa-louvrelives today, and is coming again to reign over all the earth! saint-michel-terranssant-le-demon-raphaelIt’s all there at the Louvre! Isn’t that wonderful?  the-wedding-at-cana-veronese-les-noces-de-cana-louvreThe kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46).  crowds-viewing-the-mona-lisa-at-the-louvreAre you ready to “sell all” to obtain Jesus, the Pearl of Great Price?

(I took all the photos of and at the Louvre last May except the 3 from the British Museum, which I took about 12 years ago.)

Finding the Perfect Apartment in the Heart of Paris

paris-springIt was true, although it seemed too good to be true. But, there was one catch. strolling-in-paris-springtimeFirst of all, let me tell you about our apartment. view-along-the-seine-riverIt was just 31 £ per person for the 4 of us,the-river-seine a block from the Seine, notre-dame5 minutes from the Notre Dame, outside-the-louvre-museum-parisand only 15 from the Louvre and d’Orsay. crossaint-and-coffee-parisI feared it might be infested with cockroaches, but it wasn’t, breakfast-at-terressa-flat-parisand we discovered that “Terressa Flat” referred to the fact
that it was a flat with a terrace garden perfect for dining outside! rue-des-lombardsWhat I hadn’t realized was that “Rue des Lombards” is a very famous street,
full of nightlife and jazz clubs.rue-des-lombard-paris-by-night In fact, it was more crowded near midnight than it was in the mornings! paris-springSo, it was an ideal location for experiencing Paris,
but it was absolutely harrowing trying to access our apartment! paris-sightsFor a starter, our sons flew to Paris from Boston and NY,
arriving early the next morning at different times.

street-vendors-along-the-river-seineThe theory was that they would be able to drop off their luggage and pick up a key so they could spend the day exploring before Alan and I arrived about suppertime from Grand Rapids. The realities were that no one was available at the place of residence. No one received them, gave them a key, or offered to hold their luggage. In fact, no one even appeared to speak English or understand rudimentary French.  😦

picnicking-in-the-park-paris-srpingAfter hours of attempts to contact the owner, Stephen was able to communicate (in French…thankfully he’s knows some French) via email, and late in the afternoon he was able to meet “a friend” of the owner who gave him a key and wanted cash (which Stephen didn’t have) for payment. By then, Stephen and Joel had both missed a night’s sleep and were really tired. The man said they could stay, but that he’d return the next day for the rest of the payment.

rue-des-lombards-at-nightAlan and I had had a delayed flight (which is getting to be almost more usual than timely flights) and didn’t arrive until nightfall (long after Stephen and Joel were expecting us) after the taxi driver dropped us off several blocks away, pointing and gesticulating with untranslatable French phrases in the direction of a dark and very busy alley. We slowly mazed our way, dragging our luggage, to what we thought must be the door to our apartment above a very crowded street, but inside the door marked “8” were about 12 possible choices for apartments to ring, none descripted as “Terressa Flat.” One by one we pushed all of the buzzers, to no avail. I think perhaps none of them worked, but I know that the one for our apartment certainly did not, because neither son appeared. We tried calling, but our phones (despite having paid good money for the privilege) didn’t connect.

night-scene-rue-des-lombardWe tried asking help from a couple of sympathetic looking young people, but no one knew anything about that particular apartment and using their cell phones didn’t help make a connection. At long last, Stephen (who’d set his alarm for the occasion) came down to see if we’d arrived yet. Whew! We kissed our sons, kissed the floor, and flopped into bed. What a dreary and inauspicious beginning! However, our holiday in France turned out to be quite the opposite: It was marvelous and memorable!

door-for-our-apt-on-rue-des-lombards-in-parisI’ve thought a lot about how hard it was to get to Terressa Flat, but how much we loved it once we finally arrived. I’m betting heaven will be like that for some. springtime-in-parisIt sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. rue-des-lombards-at-night-2It’s not full of cockroaches (things we don’t like),
but it will be full of music and life. river-seine-on-a-sunny-spring-dayIt will be the perfect location…just down the street from the River of Life
and a place of worship…and close to our favorite attractions.
(For me, that’s going to be loved ones!)walking-along-the-seine-river-paris-springHowever, it may seem almost impossible to figure out how to get there, despite having a reservation. If you’re confused, please pray and ask for help.
(Feel free to ask me in the comment section.) walking-along-the-seine-riverIf you see somebody who looks confused and you understand the language,
reach out and help, will you?

the-river-seine-2And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him…And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:1-3;17)

World War 2 in HD Colour: War Has No Winners

WorldWarII_In_HD_ColorAlan and I used to wonder,
“Why hasn’t the world been able to forget World War 2 and move on?” Étretat.That is, until we visited the west coast of France
and saw that their rugged coastal resort areas Fortifications on Étretat Beachare still pitted with corroding remnants of that terrible war. Étretat. the townSure, most of the towns have been rebuilt,
but the Normandy Coast will never be the same, Barbed wire and bunkers on Normandy Beachfrom the honeycomb of German bunkers Memorial at Normandy Beachand hillsides pocked with holes left by bombs, British Military Cemetery in Étretat.to the people who have memories of their world being torn apart
by explosions and invaders. Foggy hush over Normandy BeachesThere’s a hush fallen over that sacred twilight zone. American Cemetery for NormandyPeople need to grieve their pain, but I don’t know how long. World War 2 in HD ColourAfter returning home, Alan and I watched a 13-hour British documentary series on the war called World War 2 in HD Colour. 8When we were growing up in the Fifties, nobody really talked about the war,
and now I understand why at a deeper level. EKSHUMOWANE CIALA POLSKICH OFICEROW W KATYNIU.KATYN, 1943.ADM It was utterly, unspeakably evil and awful. 6The documentary covers the four major fronts: Western and Eastern Europe,
the North African campaign, and the Pacific War. 7Even though I knew some of the facts (from being a history major in college),   4seeing footage and commentary gave me a whole new perspective,   1      and after we’d seen it all, I came away with some PTSD and this new insight:
3As surely as no man is an island, no war has a winner. 10Weren’t we all created to be free? If so, then isn’t it wrong to conquer another human being? Aggression is wrong. It’s coveting our neighbor’s possessions.9Defending yourself is morally acceptable, but revenge is wrong, and it seems beyond normal human capacity to keep from returning at least some evil for evil.5 That makes winning a sour victory, because at best you may be stopping evil from overtaking you, but at an incalculable cost in lives and lands.4And, at worst you’ll be so angry that you’ll end up oppressing your enemies,
falling to the temptation of also doing evil.5War has no winners. It destroys and devastates, and the “spoils” are spoiled. 2Lord, please help us end all this senseless fighting & restore our world to peace. 2Restrain aggression, destruction and evil, 1and give those who defend themselves great grace to resist revenge,
even when it’s within their power.  Notre Dame Church in Étretat.Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

(Photos 2-9 and the last one are mine, taken in France, May 2016. The rest are from World War 2 in HD Colour and other sources. It’s a terrifying documentary, but if you ever wonder why the world doesn’t forget and “just move on,” it will give you unforgettable insight. It’s also increased my motivation to reject war as an option for settling world problems.)

The Romantic River Seine is Raging

Notre Dame Gargoyle overlooking The Seine RiverThis morning’s Daily Mail from the UK reported this chilling bit of news: River Seine flooding. Daily Mail Photo*18 people have died across Europe as a result of last week’s torrential rains, City View of The Seine Riverand “its warned River Seine could swell to 21 feet above its normal level.” Daily Mail photo of River Seine Flooding*Last night, the flood was 6.10 meters (20 feet) high. Trees lining The Seine River(Compare the above picture to this picture I took a few weeks ago.)Entree du port de la Rochelle. Paul SignacI can’t imagine this is happening, but it is. Eiffel Tower along Seine RiverI’d been working on a post about the romantic Seine, but now it’s on a rampage. Louvre Museum. ParisThe Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, where we visited under blue skies last month, The Musée d'Orsayare shut down and dozens of volunteers are scrambling to save Portrait de l'artiste. Vincent Van Gogh. 1889some 38,000 works of art by transporting them to higher floors. The Pantheon along the River SeineThe Grand Palais exhibition center, two National Libraries, Paris by Night from Eiffel Towerand some of the subways have also shut down. The Seine River and the Eiffel TowerJPGWhat was so life-giving and peaceful has become deadly! Walking along the River SeingBut, let me back up and tell you about my experience of the River Seine in May
and then bring us back to today.  River Seine winds through FranceThe River Seine winds like a silver snake from Source-Seine for 777 km Seine empties into English ChannelJPGthrough Paris and out to the English Channel at La Havre. Flying Across English Channel to France at SunsetWhen we flew across the channel from London,
River Seine from the airit was the striking focal point of my enraptured gaze (since I mustn’t stare at the sun); I sat transfixed, watching it shimmer in the sunset. The Seine River along fertile farmlandThe Seine River nourishes all the fertile farmland of the Paris Basin, The Seine River, like a silver snakeand from time immemorial it’s been France’s major commercial shipping artery. River Seine as seen from the airThe Lower Seine is dredged, so it’s navigable by ocean-going vessels to Rouen, The Seine River is widewhich is 75 miles inland from the English Channel. River Seine BoatsSmaller vessels can ply the river’s waterways past Rouen, through Paris,
and much beyond.Painter painting The Seine RiverThe River Seine is a celebrated destination for painters and lovers alikeVincent Van Gough La Nuit étoilé "The Starry Night" 1888because it symbolizes all that is romance and beauty in Paris! Aerial view of River SeineThis magnificent river cuts through the heart of Paris, Seine as seen from the airroughly dividing the city in half, with the “Left Bank” being the southern half,
or the “left” bank if you’re looking downstream (although this view is upstream). River Seine wide and deepHistorically, the Left Bank was the Latin Quarter, dwelling place of artists, Standing on Bridge overlooking The Seine Riverwriters, poets, philosophers and students…the creative dreamers and thinkers. Chimera overlooking The Seine RiverThe Right Bank is alive with commerce and business. Paris from the AirBut, just like the “right brain” and “left brain” myths have been debunked, The Seine River flowing through the heart of Paristhe Left Bank and Right Bank have succumbed to the “East” and “West,” Sidewalk lined with artwork along The Seine Riverand although there are still distinct flavors to each side, The Seine River at Nightthe city is brimming with life, business, and feasting late into the night
on both sides of the River Seine. Rue des Lombards at NightWe stayed on rue des Lombards almost under the shadow of Notre Dame
on the Right Bank, but I dare say the streets were still overflowing at midnight! 37 Bridges along River Seine in ParisWithin the city of Paris, there are 37 bridges across the Seine, Pont Neuf Bridge in Paristhe oldest being Pont Neuf, dating back to 1607. River Seine WalkWhen we visited in May, we stayed in the heart of the city and walked along the Seine every day to reach our destinations, most of which were near the river! Taking picture of The Seine RiverIt never once crossed my mind to fear the river. Tour Boat plying The Seine RiverIt was beautiful, nurturing…full of vitality and life! Road along The Seine RiverIn some ways, that reminds me of how I feel about Jesus,
who is “the way, the truth, and the life”  (John 14:6). Cars driving along The Seine RiverHowever, there’s a second half to John 14:6, and that says,
“No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Bridge across The Seine RiverThose who trust in Him can go safely to the Father in peace. Spire of Notre Dame overlooking The Seine RiverBut, God will reject those who refuse his Son, Chestnut trees along The Seine Riverand at the end of the world, there will be torrential downpour of judgment more deadly than the River Seine when it rages.
But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:24)  

River Seine and Paris from airAnd the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)   La Seine a Herblay. Maximilien LuceAnd I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20: 11-12;15)  Boats along the River SeineThen said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him [Jesus] whom he [God] hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)

(*The two photos labeled AFP images and Golf Photos are from today’s Daily Mail, June 30, 2016, found here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3625100/Paris-drowning-Workers-build-makeshift-bridges-swollen-River-Seine-reach-stricken-areas-France-suffers-worst-floods-100-years-forcing-city-total-shutdown.html The rest are from our trip to France in May, 2016.)

The Glory that is Paris: Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Chimera at Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisEdgar Allen Poe exalted in “the glory that was Greece,
and the grandeur that was Rome,” Kathi, Stephen and Joel at Notre Dame Cathedral. Parisbut I’d like to write about “the glory that is Paris,” Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris. Spring Chestnuts in bloomand among the greatest of her achievements is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris ("Our Lady of Paris") on the the Île de la Cité in Paris(“Our Lady of Paris”) on the the Île de la Cité in Paris. Charts on history of Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisSince the cornerstone was laid in 1163, Notre Dame Cathedral has become Long history of Notre Dame Cathedral. Parisone of the largest and most famous churches in the world. Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris side viewIt is also one of the finest examples of French Gothic ArchitectureWide-angle view from South Tower of Notre Dame Cathedralto be found anywhere around the globe! Chimera at Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisAs Jean de Jandun wrote in Tractatus de laudibus Parisius back in 1323: Interior View of Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris“That most glorious church…deservedly shines out, like the sun among stars… Cross in front of stained glass window Notre Dame Cathedral. Pariswindows ruddy with precious colors and beautiful…” Ah, ’tis true! Stained Glass Windows in Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisAmong its glories, Notre Dame’s most outstanding features include:  Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris Flying ButtressesButresses#1. Flying buttresses Roofline Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris(an innovative feature added later to support walls that were starting to bulge). 8000 pipes for the Great Organ in Notre Dame#2. France’s largest pipe organ
(and likely the world’s most famous as well, with 8,000 pipes!). Gargoyle overlooking city from Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris#3.  Chimeras and gargoyles that adorn the exterior walls Gargoyle waterspout Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris(and serve as waterspouts), Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris Gargoyle made famous ’round the world by Disney’s version of  Victor Hugo’s
The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Emmanuel Bell in Notre Dame Cathedral#4. Bells (also of Hunchback fame). Front doors of Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris#5. Three magnificent front entries with elaborately carved reliefs and statues. Notre Dame Cathedral Paris Story of Christ in relief#6. Intricate carvings that teach the entire gospel Thomas touching Jesus' side Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris from the birth of Christ through his resurrection.Statues on roof of Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris#7. Tributes to the saints and apostles even on the rooftops!Beautiful stained glass windowns in Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris#8. And, my personal favorite: The biblical stories in glorious stained glass. Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris Tall!There are 10 bells at the Notre Dame, and it you’re willing to climb 387 steps Spire of Notre Dame Cathedral. Paristo the top of the South Tower Paris as seen from the Notre Dame Cathedral Bell Tower(totally worth the wait and walk…and has absolutely stunning views of the city), Bell of Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris you can see the largest bell, “Emmanuel” (“God with us!”),
which dates back to 1681 and weighs over 13 tons. Emmanuel Bell at Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisEmmanuel tolls out the hours of the day and other worthy occasions,
perhaps the most famous of which was during the dark night of August 24, 1944, when God made a way for France to be liberated from their captors.Stained Glass Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisDeep within her heart, Notre Dam is illuminated by rainbowed light
from dazzling, stained glass windows. Rose Window Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisThe crowning joy is Notre Dame’s South Rose Window,
which is 12.9 meters in diameter South Rose Window. Notre Dame Parisand is comprised of 84 individual panes
dedicated to teaching the New Testament. South Rose Window Notre Dame CathedralA gift from King Louis IV to the church, this window is considered one of Christianity’s greatest artistic masterpieces. Beautiful lighting inside Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisAs I stood mesmerized by the beauty and light, worshiping my great God,
whose glory inspired such tribute, Open window in Notre Dame CathedralI noticed that one of the stained glass windows was open. South Rose Windows with Candles burningFor some reason, it never occurred to me that any of the windows would open, but it made me think of Hosea 2:15, “And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there…” Worshiping in Notre DameEven in situations where we can’t imagine a window opening, Door of hope opens in stained glass window Notre Dame Cathedral. ParisGod can make a way for us.

“God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me.

“He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way.”
(—Don Moen)Oil Painting in Notre Dame. Paris(I took all photos of, in, or from Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, May, 21016.)

ArtPrize 2016 ala Notre Dame Cathedral: One Dream Has Come True

Rose Window in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceGuess what? Almost 3 years after initial inspiration, I signed a hosting agreement last night with the Holiday Inn on Pearl Street adjacent to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, so I’m now officially “in” for ArtPrize 2016! Votive candles burning in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceThose who know me well or have been patiently reading my blog will recognize that this represents a dream come true and the culmination of unending hours of contemplation, prayer, hard work, study, listening, submission, hard work, expense, prayer, research, prayer, frustration, hard work, submission, excitement, determination, prayer, soul-searching, anxiety, confusion, prayer, hard work…you get the picture! I would have added “ad nauseum” were it not something I felt like the Lord had inspired in the first place. P.A.S.S.I.O.N. Candles burning in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceSleepless nights. Distraction. Planning. Asking. Organizing. On my knees and on my face. Walking in the Spirit and wrestling with my flesh. Around, and around, and around in spiraling circles. Hope. Deferred hope. Hope again. Growth. Disappointment. Resignation. Hope. Then, the whole crazy cycle started over again for the third time this April when it was time to apply for ArtPrize 2016. Christ on the Cross in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceYou get the picture, and I’m sure you’ve experienced similar passions in your life—if not for a venue for ArtPrize, perhaps in wanting a particular spouse, a certain job or a particular home or car. As humans we all experience ardent hopes that something we desire deeply will become a reality. Candles and statue of Jesus in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceIn the process of praying about an ArtPrize venue, I was always acutely aware that whether or not I succeeded would be up to God ultimately, and that in the grand scheme of things, there were (are) innumerable things that I desire much more, such as the spiritual health and welfare of my loved ones and the world at large, peace on earth, and goodness to overcome evil. Inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, FranceWhat infinitesimal impact my ArtPrize entry might make on the relatively small population of people who will see it is less than a drop in the bucket of need and desire, but it is one of the things I feel like God has inspired me to pursue, and so I’ve been pursuing it with all the “heartily as unto the Lord” I can muster! Jesus with Peter walking on the water in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceDespite my calm assurance that God is in control, which provides  an ocean of peace in the depths of my being, I still struggle superficially, and I still find it thrilling when my prayers and hopes are granted. You too? Sarchophagus in Notre Dame. Paris, FranceI’ve prayed for some things over 50 years now, and perhaps I’ll go to my grave praying for others, but let’s keep praying and asking, for God’s glory and our good.Candles buring in Notre Dame. Paris, France 2

Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes,
it is a tree of life
” (Proverbs 13:12).Chestnuts bloomin in spring at Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris, France(I took all these photos in or of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, May 2016.)