Living life with me means you hear boisterous exclamations of delight when I experience beauty.
Sometimes, without realizing or desiring it, beauty hits my senses. Other times I search it out because distractions, pain or the fullness of life cover my ability to see and hear beauty.
We find beauty in all corners of the earth: the tops of mountains, flowers, art museums, graffiti in alleys, the minute details of cells, color palettes in paint stores, presentation of food, lines and dimples of the body, bold and soft fashions in stores, music wafting through the air, movements of the body in dance and architecture filling cityscapes. If we are on the lookout beauty will barrage our senses.
Beauty, though not always noticed, is something we desire and crave.
We hire people to design buildings, decorate interiors and landscape gardens. We spend hours before the television listening to stories and taking in images.
We hike arduous paths and canoe many nautical miles to find that beauty which makes us feel whole again.
Yet beauty is not always recognized as a human need.
We don’t prioritize it. We pay the cheapest possible price for home décor and fashion. We allow arts, dance and music programs to take backseats to sports. We go to museums rather than art exhibits. Ultimately, we spend little time fostering and growing a sense of wonder at the beauty around us; we do not pay attention to the necessity of beauty.
Yet, beauty remains a necessity.
Without beauty we fail to thrive, to see that we are part of a larger body of people, to hear another story about life and to have the power of beauty touch our hearts and move or rather, woo, us to action, to loving, to becoming.
Beauty is all the more essential in devastation and pain because beauty allows us to mourn, calls us to suffer with others and deepens our sense of hope and joy.
We look for radiant smiles, the heights of the hills, colour and growth of living things to brighten our dreary spaces. We look for beauty to find a sense that the pain we experience, our story of devastation, is not the only situation in life. Beauty moves us to experience hope. It moves us to hope that what we see, experience, and feel in the here and now is not the end, that there is more to life, that something wonderful exists. Without beauty, we easily despair.
The world did not have to be beautiful.
Function and efficiency is often what matters, and so long as function and practicality happened, beauty did not need to be provided. Yet, beauty drips from our world. As a result, beauty is a gift.
As a gift and as a Christian, I believe beauty is to be cherished and delighted over. Humans are called to marvel at beauty. Furthermore, I believe the church should be leading the way, wondering, delighting and fostering in our world not only an appreciation for beauty, but also participating in the hard work of creating beauty.
For in experiencing and creating beauty our hearts are moved to hope, joy, change, compassion, new perspectives and prayer. In experiencing the overabundance of beauty in our world we recognize that our God is not simply one of function, but is a God who seeks to hospitably host humanity on the earth, to allow us to thrive, to gift us with hope.
To be beacons of hope, as we are called to be as people loved by God, we must create and delight in beauty, for when words fail, when troubles descend, when compassion and change is needed,
it is beauty, through the work of the Holy Spirit, that points us to the reality that hope exists beyond the situations we know.
Dayna Vreeken, pastor at Woody Nook CRC, is part of the Lacombe and District Ministerial Association.
IN GOOD FAITH