I recall as a child walking along the path that led to the river bank, across the road from our home. It was springtime and wild flowers proliferated. They were beautiful!
Upon reaching the river, I would sit on a large flat rock. While watching the water wash against it, along with foliage extending in both directions. They were beautiful!
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). That is, it was functional and aesthetically pleasing. Indeed, it was beautiful!
Early on, I had relatively little contact with girls of my own age. Some seemed more attractive than others. My elder brother appreciatively confirmed my appraisal.
“Mt. Katahdin recalls many memories. With one final effort, we stand erect—greeted by a breath-taking view. The slopes plunge headlong into the tree line, giving the impression of a majestic monument to God’s ingenuity” (Morris Inch, Whispers of Heaven & Heaven According to Matthew, pp. 11-12). The purview was beautiful!
The righteous person “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither” (Psa. 1:3). Such bear fruit in timely fashion, while resistive to drought. In metaphorical terms, expressive of beauty!
A certain artist used to invite me to visit his studio, since he thought I was a kindred spirit. I also relished my art appreciation class in college.
Another friend was engaged in so-called quality control. It consisted of innovative efforts to accomplish the purposes of his company, and as such, was expressive of a subtle form of beauty.
As concerns the initial temple, “On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he (Solomon) carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold” (1 Kings 6:29-30). It was assuredly a beautiful structure!
I made my way to an engaging sanctuary. The stained glass windows conveyed episodes from Scripture. There were a plethora of symbols, as incentives to worship. While not comparable to the temple, it too was aesthetically pleasing.
I subsequently gazed at a high rise building. It served as a testimony to human ingenuity. As such, I was struck by its inherent beauty.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the rain of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs calling to one another, ‘Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory’” (Isa. 6:1-3). So that the prophet was duly impressed with his sovereign majesty!
I was engaged in team sports until my early thirties. In this connection, I was reminded periodically that it was a team effort. So that when we worked together, it seemed expressive of beauty.
When I entered a waiting room, an alert youth offered me his chair. While quite unexpected, it qualified as an attractive social amenity.
“From now on all generations will call me blessed,” Mary appreciatively allowed, “for the Mighty One had done great things for me—holy is his name” (Luke 1:46). One can readily imagine a smile gracing her face as she spoke, as beauty personified!
I had finished my lecture when two of my students came forward, each with a rose in her hand. They meant this as an expression of appreciation, so that the beauty of the flower was meant to convey their appreciation of our relationship.
The couple exchanged their marriage vows with earnest intent. In this regard, recalling the saying: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Random quotes proliferate. For instance, “The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live” (Richard Jefferies, Pageant of Summer).
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays and Representative Men).
“Physical beauty is the sign of an interior beauty, a spiritual and moral beauty which is the basis, the principle, and the unity of the beautiful” (Friedich Schiller, Essays, Aesthetical and Philosophical).
“I feel more and more that the instinct for beauty (spiritual and moral as well as natural) is the most trustworthy of all instincts, and the surest sign of the nearness of God” (A. C. Benson, Extracts From the Letters of Dr. A. C. Benson to M.E.A.).
“There is in the world only one figure of absolute beauty: Christ. That infinitely lovely figure, is as a manner of course, and infinite marvel” (Fydor Dostoyevsky, Letters to His Family and Friends).
In conclusion, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:1-2). In anticipation of beauty yet to be revealed!
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