Autumn can be a bit soggy, but what a time to feast on frequent blasts of beauty. The glorious autumn colours open eyes wide and deepen soul appreciation for the great imagineer & artist behind all beauty. The photo is from a recent hike up Ben A’an in the Trossacks, looking over Loch Katrine.
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 & growing maturity. Atheists, Agnostics & God Believers can all recognise the need for beauty in their lives. 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!” or it can draw us further to enquire who is behind such beauty & what inspired their art. So in view of a resplendent sunset or tree fired with vivid leaves, souls can be woken to a spiritual dimension beyond what simply meets the eye.
Simple living people from a far away island, on a visit to UK families, were struck by the amount of clutter in our homes. Ornaments, knick-knacks, paintings & pictures, to their eyes were ‘dust magnets’ creating unnecessary extra work. In an attempt to encourage greater simplicity in life someone once said, “If it’s not beautiful or useful, get rid of it.” This could lead to ditching moody teenagers who fail to pull their weight, so it may not be the best maxim to live by, but it’s a helpful challenge to my hoarding tendencies. A basic truth I believe in is that God sees a redeemable beauty in every single one of us; it’s why he came in Jesus to reconnect us with his beauty & glory. “You’re beautiful!” is maybe not what blokes want to hear, but “you’re glorious!” is perhaps more palatable. Eugene Peterson often translates ‘glory’ & ‘good’ for ‘Beauty’ in the Bible:
‘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’. Indeed, St Paul describes a life lit by God’s Spirit as one consistently transformed from one degree of glory (inner beauty) to the next. It’s a beauty which not all will recognize, but one which I appreciate thoroughly in the lives of others. ‘Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness & self control’ are some of the words to describe this beauty.’ Is this a beauty we can live well without?