Psalm 19:17 has the lovely phrase “let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.”
Whilst I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder there is something astounding in perceiving the beauty of Jesus.
Albert Orsborn paraphrased this desire in the refrain,
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All his wonderful passion and purity,
O thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
Come, beautiful Christ,
Radiate thy beauty in me.
'Tis thee I adore,
What can I ask more
Than to live for thee, beautiful Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 4:6 we find Paul praying, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Is he alluding to the Creation Narrative where God declares light into being and asking that such recreating light might shine in the hearts of the faithful. But more than that, that reflective beauty of the living Christ might shine in us.
Have you ever noticed when passing a stranger and you smile at them, that inevitable the beauty of a smile brings forth a smiling response.
Augustine of Hippo in a sermon said, “He then is beautiful in heaven, beautiful on earth; beautiful in the womb, beautiful in his parents’ arms; beautiful in his miracles; beautiful under the scourge; beautiful when inviting to life ... beautiful in laying down his life; beautiful in taking it up again; beautiful on the cross; beautiful in the sepulchre; beautiful in heaven.”
In this eloquent passage, Augustine takes us ‘from heaven to heaven’ At every stage in that story, beauty characterises Christ, even when he is laying down his life on the cross. Augustine’s comments provide a framework for reflecting on Christ’s beauty.
The beauty of God
be reflected in your eyes,
the peace of God
reside within your heart,
and the love of God
be the focus of your life,
this day and all days. Amen