Cultivating Beauty

What do finger painting, garden tending, salad tossing, and polka dancing have in common? Each of these activities is a creative endeavor. Each is fraught with the possibility of reminding us of our Creator.

When God made the first human beings, Adam and Eve, God put them in a garden, a place of beauty. Genesis 2:8, 15 reminds us that God put our first parents in a garden in order for them to take care of it. Ever since that time, there has been a built-in desire in the human heart to create beauty in our surroundings. Painting, landscaping, cooking, music, storytelling, and dance are just a few of the ways we steward the resources God has given us to create beauty.

Humans alone among God’s creatures consciously long for beauty. The Psalmist recounts this yearning as the desire to dwell in God’s house: One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4) This longing compels us to build churches and cathedrals, assemble stained-glass windows, compose music, and craft liturgies, prayers, lessons, sermons, and so much more.

Sunsets, tulips, laughter and joy remind us that God loves beauty. When we landscape our yards, plant gardens, hang a swing, bake bread, and dream about the ways we can improve our little patch of creation we participate in cultivating beauty.

Beauty takes work. Gardens need weeding. Soup needs stirring. Music and stories must be written. As stewards of creation we help to reflect the glory of God when we cultivate beauty. This can take many forms. But first, it begins with noticing. Pause when an object, event, or relationship strikes you as beautiful. Thank God for the beauty of each thing – small, medium, or large – ask God to open your eyes to beauty all around you.

Want to deepen your understanding of beauty through the arts? Visit West Side’s Journey Through the Stations of the Cross March 18 -April 1 in the Chapel. Bring a friend. Slow your pace.

Finally, keep this truth in mind: God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet, no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Remember, to cultivate beauty is to delight in the soul’s longing for what is true. Know this, and be at peace.

~ Pastor Shari

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