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Lent #11: Beauty as a signpost on the spiritual journey

Friday, March 16, 2012

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    How wonderful you write just what we think in our hearts. This reminds me of an old song I use to sing in church, Look for me at Jesus feet. Oh the thought that we will on day gaze upon is beautiful face............but until then we have only to look around us to see his wondrous handiwork.

    I so look forward to reading your blogs each day. Thank you so much Susie.
    1985 days ago
    Beautiful blog and picture Susie! I also think God is smiling in this picture. Amazing how many things speak to our souls.

    1986 days ago
  • SWAZY33
    One day this week the sky was filled with the most glorious sunrise! And my first thought was an artist He is!
    1986 days ago
    beautiful picture and blog. God has created awe inspiring works of wonder.
    1986 days ago
    You have said it all this morning. Thank you for this message of love and peace. God is speaking through you, I truly believe. Thank you for being His messenger.
    Leslie> emoticon

    1986 days ago
    This is beautiful and speaks to a pre-destined journey that God has already written for each of us Susie. Thank you.
    1986 days ago
    I looked at this picture and my first thought was God was smiling because he was very pleased with his creation! Thanks for sharing.
    1986 days ago
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