“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
Lent is over. We have mourned the walk to and through the cross, and we have celebrated Easter. It was very moving for me to ink the pad and see people stamp the word “FREE” on others’ white flags with their specific addictions on it. We are here for each other. I hope people remember that as we all struggle with problems in the future. We are not islands.
As for Easter, I recently sent an Easter care package (full of chocolate eggs) to our youngest (her last one as an undergrad – woohoo!). I thought of her choices to come, and how it relates to a recent podcast about beauty and choices I just heard.
The speaker talked about how God gave Adam and Eve the choice of eating all these delicious things in the Garden, and then one wrong choice; people had free will. They unfortunately did make the wrong choice, but the point in this talk is that there were so many choices of what to eat in the Garden. Sometimes we are taught that there is one perfect will of God for us – whom we are to marry if at all, where we are to go to school, what job we will have, where we should live, where we should go to worship, etc. The speaker said that might not necessarily be true. God knows the choice we will make, but he does not make that choice for us. God is delighted to give us an array of choices in our lives, and hopes we will choose something good, and not sin, the wrong choice.
Hopefully, when we make a choice, it will be toward Beauty. The speaker (Erwin McManus, author of the recent The Artisan Soul) said we are all artisans, creatives, since we are all made in the Creator’s image.
I agree that we all can be creative, even if we are not “artistic” as seen by our culture. I admire artists. Indeed, a recent study shows that people who are artistic have different neural pathways in the brain (check it out at BBC.com). But all of us can be and probably are appreciators and instruments of beauty. I remember I was fascinated with the concept of Beauty before I became a believer, as something to aspire to, to seek to understand; the concept captivated me. I was not seeking a superficial advertising-person kind of beauty, but one deep down that got to the truth of an object. I was going toward the Beauty of God, and his truth, but not realizing it.
We human beings can be creative and artistic in so many different ways, even if there is no physical “result.” We reflect God’s beauty and truth in an encouraging word spoken to a friend in need, in the gentle wiping of a child’s crying face, in a business deal that helps others, in a hug, in a laughter shared with others, in finding joy even when we are in pain, in forgiveness of someone who hurt us, in appreciation of art and literature and music. We can be artistic in a creative meal that delights, in a well-loved home, in a triumph of body over matter in a challenging run, in the exchange of ideas in a truth-in-love kind of way. It can happen when we really listen to each other. We can be creative when we give financially to help a hungry family eat, when we keep our promises, when we mourn with those who mourn, when we celebrate with those who celebrate, when we turn the world upside down on its head and show others the amazing, awesome and overwhelming love of God. We can reflect God’s beauty when we pray, when we let God direct us, when we live a life surrendered, free, celebrating Easter all year round (chocolate eggs, anyone?).
Kelly can be reached via email.