Beauty Matters!

 


This Monday morning I want to urge you to find soul strength in beauty. Take some time to appreciate beauty – in music, in the natural world, in the soul of another, in a sunset, in a photograph, a work of art, or a flower.  Stop to think about it, appreciate it, and to thank God for the gift of beauty in the world in which you live. 

I saw a kind of ‘beauty’ yesterday during a funeral service. The US Marine honor guard played taps from the back of the church and the crowd rose to their feet. Then I noticed the shaking shoulders of some vets moved by the simple song and symbolism. Most beautiful, though, were the arms of those standing near those men that encircled them with an embrace. 

I’m a country boy and love the beauty of back roads, winding lanes, sunlight streaming through the trees, a laughing brook.  While I wrote these words this morning, I looked out on my yard to see twin fawns, still spotted, running through the grass playfully.

What beauty renews you? David writes of about an important aspect of our worship. He says, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4, NIV)  

Christian, do you love God’s Presence? Do you take time to see His beauty? I am afraid that our noisy hurried ‘worship’ experiences in modern buildings stripped of symbols makes us prone to miss the beauty that is found near His heart. He is always with us, near us, but I believe there can be a special beauty found in prayer pauses, in shared Communion, in looking on the cross and altar as we open our minds and hearts to God’s Presence. When we learn to spend some time each day in quiet reflection, contemplating the Person of God, one of the benefits is the reminder that our lives are not just about eating, sleeping, and going to work. We remember we are Children of God, eternal beings destined for His home – what a beautiful thought.  

Paul reminds us that contemplating the beauty of Jesus has a direct impact on our lives. It’s not just dreaming or escapism.   Listen to the Spirit’s wisdom. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NIV)  Contemplating His beauty allows us to share in His ‘glory,’ His bright radiance, and we are changed, ‘with ever increasing glory,’ made brighter and brighter as we stand in the Light.

Do not think that I am incapable of seeing the ugly.  Sin mars God’s world. The Creation full of beauty can turn violent. Gardens quickly degenerate into weedy messes when left untended. The same human being that can love is capable of hatred. Even art becomes an expression of chaos when God’s order is removed from it. Much art produced by post-moderns, people who see the world as a product of chance and a place without over-arching purpose, is chaotic, full of noise and fury, and harsh – because that is the place from which the artist begins his work!

But, this I know, in Christ Jesus God is reconciling the world to Himself. His desire is not just to make it possible for us to go to Heaven someday, though that is wonderfully true. He desires to ‘make all things new,’ to restore beauty in us and through us in this world. Has life overwhelmed you, problems become many while resources have diminished?

Take a beauty break!   Go ponder the works of God in Creation. Or, listen to some beautiful music. Or, visit a garden. Or, enjoy a work of art… and do it with a prayerful invitation to the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to embrace you, to come close and to remind you that despite the destruction and chaos that the Evil One wreaks on this world, that He is the King of Kings, the Author of Life, the One who remains the Source of Hope, Life, and Beauty. 

Here’s a word from the Word to ponder today:   “Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:16-17, NKJV)
____________ 

How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy pow’r thru’out
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art,How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art

And when I think
That God His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die
I scarce can take it in
That on the cross
My burden gladly bearing
He bled and died
To take away my sin

When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim
My God how great Thou art

Stuart Wesley Keene Hine © Copyright 1949 and 1953 Stuart Hine Trust CIO Stuart K. Hine Trust (Administration: USA All rights by Capitol CMG Publishing, except print rights for USA, North, Central and South America administered by Hope Publishing.

CCLI License # 810055

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