Today we continued our series, Echoes of a Voice and we focused on the delight in beauty. NT Wright, in Simply Christian, writes this about beauty:
“Beauty, like justice, slips through our fingers. We photograph the sunset, but all we get is the memory of the moment, not the moment itself. We buy the recording, but the symphony says something different when we listen to it at home. We climb the mountain, and though the view from the summit is indeed magnificent, it leaves us wanting more; even if we could build a house there and gaze all day at the scene, the itch wouldn’t go away. Indeed, the beauty sometimes seems to be in the itching itself, the sense of longing, the kind of pleasure which is exquisite and yet leaves us unsatisfied. The world is full of beauty, but the beauty is incomplete.”
Steve DeWitt has written an important book on beauty and wonder, called Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything. This book is filled with many tremendous statements about beauty, wonder and worship and here are two of my favorites:
“Christianity’s answer to the question of why creation is so beautiful is that it flows from the character of a beautiful creator. Nature is God’s self-portrait. It is not God, since God transcends what He has created, but it reveals in physical form what He is like spiritually. God creates beauty so we can know what He is like. Since He is and always has been glorious and beautiful, creation reflects this with seeable, tastable, touchable, hearable, and smellable reflections of His glory and beauty. This is what Isaiah heard the angels exulting. The whole earth is filled with His glory, and it is a ‘song about God.’”
“Wonder-producing beauty is an opportunity for us as Christians to consider the glory of the one who created it in the first place. All beauty whispers to us in this way. This is a call to worship, to go from what I can see or hear or smell or taste or touch to what I cannot. My thoughts go from the visible to the invisible, from the created thing to the Creator. When my wonder gets me there, I esteem Him as glorious by giving Him honor for both the beauty and my enjoyment of it.”
Here are two questions I commend for your reflection:
- What’s the most beautiful thing you have experienced this week?
- What did it evoke within you?
For me one of he most beautiful things I have experienced this past week is the Mumford and Sons new project, Babel. Here are a few of the tings that it evoked within me:
- Joy – celebration of life and love
- Feelings of awe and reverence
- A deep respect for their musicality and creativity
- The haunting melodies and raw lyrics connected me with a sense of sorrow and pain regarding my journey of sin, grace and redemption
- Sadness – I want more: why did the project come to an end and how long will I have to wait for the next one?
- Curiosity – why do I have such a fascination with Irish rockstars?
How about you – take a moment and share something about your reflection.
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Come Now Is the Time to Worship (Brian Doerkson)
- Call to Worship: Matthew 11:28-30
- Your Grace Is Enough (Matt Maher)
- At the Cross (Daniel Renstrom)
- Beautiful One (Tim Hughes)
- Announcement and Offering
- Message: Echoes of a Voice – Beauty
- Beautiful Things (Gungor)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.