Why beauty?

evening reflections

Ever have a moment when you read an article that seems to be the conclusion of a myriad of your own flickering thoughts, doubts, and impressions? Sarah Clarkson’s reflection on the spiritual significance of beauty struck me in that way this afternoon.  Her writing articulates convictions which direct my delight in beauty (most clearly seen here in my photography), but which I haven’t been able to find words for—until now.

I don’t tend toward block quotes (credit my experience with teaching freshman level composition for this aversion); however, in this case I want to share several selections at length:

 […] Beauty creates a space that is holy, a place of quiet that becomes a refuge when we seek it amidst the battle and race of life.

To seek beauty then, in the midst of this broken world, is to have faith in a reality beyond what I can see. Despite the grief of life in the broken place, my heart still catches glimmers of what was meant to be, echoes from the shattered gladness of new creation. The remnants of Eden reach out to me in the very stuff of the every day, slivered shards of ideal beauty glittering in a story, through the sunlight slanted in on my table, the flight of song, a moment of utter quiet. In those moments, I am aware that beauty speaks. That loveliness tells me of something beyond the brokenness, that every experience of joy I find is the promise of a coming and complete redemption.

I know that God created his earth with its startling beauty to reflect the richness of existence he intended for us. Though the world is fallen, the picture of goodness is still there, and the promise of it being restored is the center point of my hope.

To be an idealist, to seek the beautiful isn’t in the least about smelling the roses or living a perfect life. Beauty is, instead, about hope in a perfect God. The beautiful pictures his unchanging goodness, and when I bring it into my own, small, dusty days, I affirm my faith in its reality. Idealism, at heart, is really about hope. And beauty is the means by which we live that out.

 Amen.

[please read the post in its entirety here: “Beauty = Hope.”]

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