Cultivating Beauty

My life is often as cluttered as my 4 year old son’s floor. Meetings, lesson prep, counseling, paperwork, budgets, bills, going out with friends, playing with kids, disciplining kids, talking with wife, go to sleep.

Wake up and redo. Hours blend into days, into weeks, into months… and on life goes, round and round the wheel we go.

The problem with clutter is that it masks beauty. Until, that is, those moments when transcendant beauty pierces through what seemed like reality, revealing a richer reality underneath.

Revealing God.

I was sitting in church a few weeks back, mind wandering, cataloging upcoming responsibilities, going over checklists, considering previous conversations, being ‘productive’ while chained to my chair.  Until suddenly–

my attention was arrested by the singular beauty of the soprano’s solo. Multi-tasking and distraction melted away, leaving only tingly, goose-bump inspiring wonder. And while the words of the song had merit in themselves, this was no cognitive appraisal of the worthiness of the theology they embodied. This was simply savoring the beauty of the music for its own sake, and what the clarity of the notes communicated about the nature of God.

Ours is a world of pragmatic rationalism; in many ways we worship what we think works. But the ancients left room in their walk of faith to cultivate moments of beauty–not simply smelling the roses for the sake of the roses, but for what the roses revealed to them about God.

We would do well to follow their example. This is especially true for the many Evangelical Christians who will likely never glimpse true beauty in a weekend worship service. Even so, we are surrounded by beauty everyday–the smile of a toddler, the generosity of a friend, the serenity of a cup of coffe before the world has stirred, the setting sun reflecting off suburban train tracks, and much, much more.

The problem with a cluttered life is that beauty has to be scheduled in: we impoverish our appreciation for beauty by relegating it to the planned, structured world of concerts, plays, nature walks, and paintings.

But all the while, God is whispering to our hearts, calling us to tear our gaze from the clutter and focus it squarely on whatever beauty He has placed directly in front of us at that moment, almost as if to say, “Here I am.”

It is up to us to leave enough room in our cluttered lives to allow the rays of beauty room to land.

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About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
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2 Responses to Cultivating Beauty

  1. Piyali says:

    A quote that spoke to me about God’s beauty.. for I as well like to see the world as beautiful. 🙂

    ‘Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.’
    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. Jeff says:

    I like this one. Surprise, surprise.

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