According to Wikipedia (the fountain of truth that we know it as) the classical Greek word for beautiful was “ὡραῖος”, an adjective delivered from the word “ὥρα” or hour. In Koine Greek, beauty was thus associated with “being of one’s hour”. A ripe fruit (of its time) was considered beautiful.
Mulling over this concept of beauty I began to apply it to the beauty of God. If beauty is something that is revealed in its due time and then decays I wondered does Gods beauty fade?
Beauty from an earthly perspective may include the brightness of a geranium, a fluffy Labrador pup, the innocence of a newborn, the rapturing moment of a bride stepping down the aisle, the panorama of a mountain vista, the design on a Milan runway, the goose-bumps from an entertaining performance, or the iconic lines of an architectural landmark. Some like to call it the “wow” factor. Moments in time that take our breathe away. The moment to shine, the hour of beauty. For many it is fleeting. As the object or idea has a life span, a duration, a use by date. One can only stand and look at a painting for so long no matter how beautiful it is before our attention wanders. It is a reflection of God, yet earthly beauty fades.
As a Christian it is sometimes a struggle to explain this faded beauty, the ‘ugliness’, suffering, and pain. Equally a universe devoid of God makes it difficult to pinpoint the root and existence of beauty.
I believe God is the substance of beauty and his presence is tangible, beautifying everything he comes into contact with. Although eternally the same, he is perpetually showing us new revelations. A continual eternal revealing, every split second on multiple levels. Mind blowing earth shattering revelations about his love, creation, creativity, truth, science and salvation. Revelations about ourselves himself and humanity. His beauty never deteriorates, dates or withers. God is ahead of the fashion industry, latest trends, hair styles, art movements and pop cultural phenomena. Those are old creations from yesterdays God inspired moments breathed upon us. His finger print of beauty is on everything he touches.
As he draws close to us we are exposed thoroughly and profoundly to his beauty. In vulnerability as we remove our veils of shame and condemnation we are adorned by grace in his presence. We are perfected in love. Like a jewel new facets of his glory are directed through us as we surrender.
It is in this “Holy of Holies” where his beauty is the most captivating. It is the place of “His” eternal moment to shine.
Holiness to some may be considered bland boring and irrelevant. Sometimes I picture a strict school master with her knitted sweater and the mouldy smell of institutionalism. It is as if “Holiness” is clutching to a by gone era in a last ditch effort to protect oneself from the changing times.
Fortunately holiness is the exact opposite. Holiness is at the very centre of attraction and desire. The centre of immediacy, freshness and vivacity. The heart beat of creativity and beauty.
David understood this as a worshiper beholding God’s beauty entering into this sacred place.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
Beauty is at the centre of the gospel. This beauty and holiness radiates from his house calling us to intimacy. To connect heart to heart, mind to mind, spirit to spirit.
For King David the presence of the Lord was so intoxicating and so fascinating that he sought it above all things. Extremely wealthy he found Gods infinitely satisfying holiness priceless.
He gave the present day equivalent of 56 Billion US dollars in gold, silver and other precious materials from his own private money to build the temple. He was surrounded by creativity and the arts from all around the known world, yet found the most inspiration from one place. He had several of the most beautiful wives in the nation but he placed Gods beauty above that. He knew all the beauty of this natural earth were just a glimpse of the heavenly world.
For a man who could have anything this earth could offer he single heartedly sought one thing first.
4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
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 seek him in his temple.