Learning to see beauty

I’ve been thinking heaps lately about the way in which Jesus brings great beauty to the brokenness of the world. When we have Jesus before us as we think of the world, we can find real peace when things suck; when we understand what his death and resurrection means, we can appreciate the complex intertwining of both beauty and distress in the world. That through Jesus all things will be reconciled to God (Colossians 1:20) gives us both hope in what lies ahead for the world, and places great value on what we see in the present, marred though it is. Jesus sees enough beauty in what is unlovely that he died for it (and not least me). Comprehending that truth opens our eyes to see the beauty he sees as well.

Some great writers have helped me process this.

Shall I tell you again the new word
the new word of the unborn day?
It is Resurrection.
The resurrection of the flesh.

For our flesh is dead
only egoistically we assert ourselves.

And the new word means nothing to us,
it is such an old word,
till we admit how dead we are,
till we actually feel as blank as we really are.

The New Word, by D. H. Lawrence

I feel sometimes as if I were a child who opens its eyes to the world once and sees amazing things it will never know any names for and then has to close its eyes again. I know this is all mere apparition compared to what awaits us, but it is only lovelier for that. There is a human beauty in it. And I can’t believe that, when we have all been changed and put on incorruptibility, we will forget our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence, the great dream of procreating and perishing that meant the whole world to us.

—From Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

Romans 8:19-25


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