Add to the Beauty
Above the entrance, from the interior to the exterior of the temple, and on every interior and exterior wall, there were carved winged creatures and palm trees. The palm trees were positioned between the winged creatures, and each winged creature had two faces.
During the past several days, I have been reflecting on various implications of a passage in Ezekiel 41 in which God reveals his plans for beautiful decorations of the temple in Jerusalem. I began this series of reflections by asking: Can architects serve God in their work? Ezekiel 41, along with many other passages of Scripture, suggests that the answer is "yes."
But, even if you and I are not gifted in architecture and other artistic fields, we can still imitate the God who created beauty. We have the opportunity to make this world more beautiful in humble and seemingly commonplace ways. In so doing, we can honor God and reflect his creation of beauty. In the fitting words of singer-songwriter Sara Groves, you and I can "add to the beauty" of the world in countless ways.
I think, for example, of my wife's rose bushes. When we lived in Irvine, California, Linda planted a couple dozen rose bushes in our front yard. She did so, in part, because she loved their blooms. But, by planting them right by the street in front of our house, Linda shared her roses with our neighbors. Over the years, she received dozens of compliments and expressions of gratitude from those who drove or walked by our house. Linda "added to the beauty" of our neighborhood through her gardening. (You can see some pictures of Linda's roses here.) Now, I don't believe Linda thought of her rose bushes as somehow imitating God's creativity by adding to the beauty of the world. But, in fact, her efforts did indeed make the world a more glorious place.
Now that we live in the Hill Country of Texas, Linda doesn't plant rose bushes. They'll grow here just fine, but the deer in our neighborhood would quickly devour them. So, instead of roses, Linda has begun sowing wildflowers in order to beautify our yard and our neighborhood. During last year's drought, her labors appeared to be in vain. But, this year, our yard has been wonderfully blessed with Bluebonnets, Horsemint, and Indian Blanket flowers. We're pleased to enjoy them and glad to share them with our neighbors.
You might not be able to plant flowers where you live. But, in countless other ways, you can "add to the beauty" of God's world where you live, where you work, where you attend church, and beyond. Sometimes, it can be as simple as picking up litter. Or you might share a photo of a rainbow on Facebook.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways have you added to the beauty of this world? Can you think of new ways you might add to the beauty of your part of the world?
PRAYER: Gracious God, what a privilege it is to be able to make a difference in your world. Thank you for allowing me to "add to the beauty" of your creation by using well the gifts you have given me. May I be a good steward of these gifts, so that you might be glorified and people might be served.
Give me eyes to see, Lord, how I might beautify my part of this world. May I do this in imitation of you and for your glory. Amen.
Images sourced via Creative Commons.