What a pleasure to preach Geoff Redmayne into his new charge in Montrose! And what a beautiful part of the world and fine people God has called Sharon & Geoff to. Yesterday Dorothy and I feasted on fine fellowship and autumnal beauty, and this morning I couldn’t help myself getting out with dog and camera to ‘freshly click’ some hues and views. Our Indian summer, or rather ‘our summer’, is lighting up the glorious colours in spectacular fashion, deepening soul appreciation for the great imagineer & artist behind it all.
How important is ‘beauty’ to your living & wellbeing? I don’t see it as a luxury to living, rather a necessity for human survival, sanity & maturity. Atheists, Agnostics & God Believers can all recognise the need for beauty. Beauty may be ‘in the eye of the beholder’ but it can take us to the ‘edge of a greater glory’, to the spiritual fringes of faith. Beauty can be seen as an end in itself, “Wow that’s beautiful!” It can also draw us to enquire who is behind such beauty & what inspired their art. In view of a sensational sunset or tree fired with vivid leaves, souls are woken to a spiritual dimension beyond what simply meets the eye.
Simple living people, from a faraway island, visited UK families, and were struck by the amount of clutter in our homes. To their eye ornaments, knick-knacks, paintings & pictures were ‘dust magnets’ creating unnecessary work. Are we in danger of burying ourselves in bland and bling? Encouraging simpler living someone said, “If it’s not beautiful or useful, chuck it.” This might lead to binning moody teenagers, so perhaps not the best maxim to live by, but it’s a helpful challenge to my hoarding tendencies.
I believe God sees a redeemable beauty in every single one of us; it’s why he came in Jesus, to re-join us with his beauty & glory. “You’re beautiful!” is maybe not what blokes long (or like) to hear, but “You’re glorious!” is more palatable. In the Bible, Eugene Peterson often translates ‘glory’ & ‘good’ for ‘beauty’:
‘God made the heavens— Royal splendor radiates from him, a powerful beauty sets him apart.’ (Psalm 96:5-6 – MSG) “For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.” (Psalm 100:5 – MSG)
A well-known Christian creed confesses the main aim of humans, ‘to glorify God & enjoy him forever’. St Paul describes a life lit by God’s Spirit as being transformed from one degree of glory (inner soul beauty) to the next. It’s a beauty which not all recognize, but one I thoroughly appreciate in others. ‘Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control’ are some words to describe this beauty.’ Can we really live well without it?