Wednesday, June 05, 2013

"We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words--to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves." -C. S. Lewis

"Every experience of beauty points to [eternity]."
-Hans Urs Von Balthasar 
(Whoever he was.)

It always happens this time of year; the beauty unfolding all around me invites me to pursue God in a fresh way.
In the winter, He invites me to pursue Him through the cozy warmth of our living room fire, a hot cuppa' something and the inviting red leather of my Dad's armchair. Here it's an intimate, journaling, reading and studying sort of pursuit, like the quality time spent in a long, intimate chat with a friend. I'm a creature of habit and I find myself drawn the armchair and the fire like a magnet during the cold months when I'm feeling the need to connect with my God. I feel wrapped up in Him like I am in my fleece blanket or warm sweater; hugged, invited, warmed.

And then Spring finally comes and the armchair just isn't quite as inviting. The Call comes to me from outside; from the beauty all around me and the glimpse of God's vast untame-ability that I catch even from our relatively tamed backyard woods or the little nature glimpses I get from under the canopy on the back porch. Journal, Bible, and various books travel with me to said porch and a cold smoothie or iced tea often replaces the hot steaming beverage. And sometimes my times with Him consist simply in sitting and enjoying His handiwork on a perfect, warm day and pondering how His beauty and character is reflected in what I see around me. Praise bubbles up inside and I want to glorify Him by delighting in it all. I get the urge to go somewhere away from suburbia and just lay in a wide meadow or sit in the woods or hike a trail or kayak a lake; feeling paradoxically close to God in the vastness of it all. And as I said, it's the beauty unfolding all around me that does it.

John Eldredge says this:
"Beauty is transcendant. It is out most immediate experience of the eternal. Think of what it's like to behold a gorgeous sunset, or the ocean at dawn. Remember the ending of a great story. We yearn to linger, to experience is all our days. Sometimes the beauty is so dee it pierces us with longing. For what? For life as it was meant to be. Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow know out hearts were created for. Beauty speaks of heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful. It haunts us with eternity. Beauty says, 'There is a glory calling to you.' And if there is a glory, there is a source of glory. What great goodness could have possible created this? What generosity gave us this to behold? Beauty draws us to God."
My words are pitiful at such times, but something in me has to come out anyways and so this morning it took the form of poetry:

The hummingbird flits past me
In the light of early day,
And hovers close by trustingly
Before he hums away.
His emerald wings and ruby neck
Both glisten in the sun,
He looks like gorgeous royalty;
Reminds me of Someone.
Nearby the humble sparrow sits
And feasts away on seed,
His little bright eyes black as coal,
His feathers dull brown tweed.
He's cheerful though ignoble, and
His tweets and chirps sound glad,
Unlike we restless humans,
Striving for fame we wish we had.
The silky threads of spiders' webs
Are remnants from the night,
They glisten, now in golden sun,
And wave in breezy flight.
The woods about me sing with life
And call me with their beauty,
The trees sashay and wave their leaves
In praise, their glorious duty.
The vibrant green of life surrounds;
The base coat of God's art,
And brilliant yellows, purples, pinks-
The flowers' accent part.
The little flies that dance mid-air,
The smell of soil and leaf,
The flap of bird-wings near my head
Chipmunks' rustling little feet.

How can I see and hear all this
Without praise in my soul?
How can I witness all He's made
Without my heart brim-full?
How can the breeze caress my face
And sunlight warm my skin,
Without my glad soul worshipping
And glorifying Him?
Is all this beauty just a taste
Of how lovely HE is?
Is all this joy in nature
Just a small fraction of His?
Is all the intricate detail
(Some things too small to see)
A witness of the careful way
His perfect eye guides me?
Then rise, my soul in fervent praise,
And bow, my heart, in love!
Dance, my feet, and clap, my hands,
And sing to God above!
Worship Him with every breath
And praise with every thought,
Delight in Him and love Him for
The wonders He has wrought!
Echo back the joyful throb
That nature sings to Him,
Praise Him with humility
And hands washed free from sin.
If all that's good and beautiful
Originates with He,
How kind, how strong, How beautiful
My Awesome God must be!