Lately I’ve been thinking quite a bit about beauty. Not the girl of that nickname that I met in Thailand (though she did cross my mind), but of beauty as defined by Webster: “the quality attributed to whatever pleases or satisfies the senses or mind, as by line, color, form, texture, proportion, rhythmic motion, tone, etc…”.
This whole thought process on beauty began after my last post with the link to Lanier’s blog — after posting, I decided to go read some more of her writings. They remind me quite a bit of L.M. Montgomery’s writings (for those who don’t know, she wrote the Anne of Green Gables series, etc.): similar writing styles, both generate a satisfied sigh on the completion of reading, and both celebrate the beautiful. Of course, not at all in a pagan and worshipful way, but more with realizing that “beautiful” is just another word for “lovely” in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
I think that many Christians are mistaken in subconsciously thinking that beauty is “carnal” or “of the flesh”. This view, though erroneous in my opinion, is rather justifiable when you see how much the idea of beauty has been perverted by our culture. But I believe that true beauty, .summed up nicely in the Philippians 4:8 quoted above, is NOT carnal and should be an integral part of a Christian’s life (as is evidenced by the “…meditate on these things.” part of the verse).
In the traveling I’ve done, I’ve seen many idols worshipped, both visible and unseen. And I have yet to see an idol that is in any way lovely — many are incredibly ugly! Countless times I’ve been so thankful to the Lord that He is beautiful…because He is, that’s undeniable. There are several references in the Bible to “the beauty of the Lord”, but even if you didn’t have that, you need only look at His creation.
Genesis 1 tells us of the creation of this world. Along with other details, it recounts that every so often, the Creator looked at His work and “saw that is was good” (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31 [“very good”]). In the original Hebrew, that word “good” meant a multitude of things: “good, pleasant, beautiful, excellent, lovely, delightful”. His creation was “good” and it was beautiful. Granted, we now live in a sinful world that has tainted the original loveliness of the Lord’s creation, but many times we can catch an tiny yet exquisite glimpse of the our God’s beauty through His creation. It’s found in the delicacy of a lily-of-the-valley, in the awe-inspiring splendor of a sunset, in the tranquility of a hidden meadow covered with freshly-fallen snow. You can see it in the magnificence of true love, in a baby’s laugh, in.good food. Our Lord’s many facets of beauty — ” La vie est belle” — life IS beautiful.
But life is beautiful only because it’s a reflection of our precious Lord Jesus. Yet, amazingly, it’s only a pale reflection, oh so very pale, because “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12a). But then face to face….what glorious splendor, what awesome beauty. Words seem so paltry, even in thought. What is there to say? What is there to do? But fall on my face and worship…oh that glorious day.