Today's picture is of a sunset over the North Pole. Breathtaking, isn't it? It illustrates well, I think, the idea that the beauty of the earth is sometimes as illusive as it is breathtaking. We take pictures in order to capture the moment, the feeling, the experience of beauty...and yet ultimately, we cannot contain beauty.
In his book Simply Christian, N.T. Wright speaks of beauty as a signpost that points us to the very real existence of God:
"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 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."
Wright's words remind me of the quote from St. Augustine (paraphrased), "Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee."
Beauty, like intimate relationships, and perfected social justice...are but reflections of a perfect, loving, and exquisitely beautiful God. In ways we may never comprehend in our earthly lifetime, we crave his beauty...we crave intimate connection with him...we crave a state of being where all things are made right again. We yearn for a time when all is love and peace...war is no more...and beauty envelops us, rather than illuding us.
These cravings for love and beauty and wholeness, are, I think, one of the best indicators to us that God is very real...our need for him is genuine...and our spiritual journeys are, in fact, taking us to a very specific destination.