Beauty Will Save the World
This is the first in a series called Beauty Will Save the World. Each week we will continue our study on Beauty and the Bride of Christ. Who she is, what she does, and how she changes the atmosphere through her beauty. Follow us! And claim your FREE GIFT every week.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth (Psalm 50:2 ESV).
When God nudged me to begin my blog again I struggled. Ransomed Beauty was birthed out of the heart of God to encourage and remind the Bride of Christ of who she is. To recognize the Beauty she is and walk in step with her espoused Bridegroom, Jesus, as a true partner. To be his mouthpiece, calling forth the will of heaven on earth. To acknowledge, explore, and praise and magnify his goodness. And his Beauty.
So you can understand how challenging it has been to find beauty in the events of the past few months. How do we lay the grid of the Kingdom of God across the landscape of 2020? As one philosopher put it, we need more harmony.
"Dissonance can of course be a powerful motivator – but one that should inspire an effort to resolve it... We need more harmony... most importantly, we need to return to our calling to love one another." Dr. Francis Collins.*
The Kingdom of God is an enigma I often describe as "the upside, downside, hind-part-before side, inside Kingdom of God..." It is radically backward and crosswise from every iota of logic and human reason. Give and it will be multiplied back to you. Love your enemy. Bless those who curse you. The way of war in the Kingdom army is to praise the Lord and watch Him do what no man, no government, no policy, no tribe can or should do. But only those who are keen to the spirit will understand how to operate in it.
It is beautiful.
Everything about Jesus is beautiful. His birth, his miracles, his compassion, even his suffering, and death bore the beauty of sacrifice. And the most beautiful of all, his resurrection.
Beauty is essential to human existence because it is the very D.N.A. of God. And since we are made in His image, it is essential to our sense of balance and order. God created the Garden of Eden, "... that delightful spot for the moment where the Presence of God is an open door to heaven." It was perfect in beauty and flourishing before he ever placed man in it.
There's an interesting story about Prince Vladimir the Great of Kiev, a pagan monarch a thousand years ago, who was looking for a new religion to unify the Russian people. He sent out delegations to neighboring realms to report back to him. They returned with reports of the dour and austere, the abstract and theoretical. But when they investigated Christianity in the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, here's what they found:
... they led us to the place where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or earth, for on earth there is no such vision nor beauty, and we do not know how to describe it; we only know that God dwells among men. We can not forget that beauty.
It was not apologetics or ethics that drew them and ultimately persuaded Vladimir to adopt Christianity as his own. It was esthetics. It was Beauty. In his book, *Beauty Will Save the World, author Brian Zahnd says that often Christians define and defend Christianity by its "truth and goodness."
"... [but] beauty has a way of sneaking past defenses and speaking in unique ways. To a generation suspicious of truth claims and unconvinced by moral assertions, beauty has a surprising allure... A Christianity that is deeply enchanted by Christ's beauty and thus formed and fashioned by this beauty has the opportunity to present to a skeptical and jaded world an aspect of the gospel that has been too rare for far too long."
Continuing the legacy of his father, Franklin Graham led the charge of thousands of Believers recently on the Washington Mall to ... humble themselves,... pray... turn from their wicked ways...(2 Chronicles 7:14). Concurrently, Jonathan Cahn gathered thousands in a historic event, The Return, recognizing Rosh Hashanah, leading a national appeal of God's people to Return to the foundational assignment of America: to take the Gospel from shore to shore and all over the earth. And to repent for the sins and atrocities committed on our Land. For sins against all races, for removing God from our schools, and for the brutal murder of over 60 million babies whose lives mattered and whose blood cries out for justice. There was no protest against governments, leaders, or people. Only a humbling of God's people, the Church, for allowing secularism to infiltrate our government, which was founded upon biblical principles. It was a corporate act of repentance. A Return of America to its roots. To our God.
It was beautiful.
Might it be that the best way to express our Christian ideology is to shine the light on the beauty of our Savior, the goodness and kindness of his nature, and to make much of his glory? How might the world be different if we truly understood our role as the Bride of Christ and allowed our face to shine with his glory? Did he not say if he be lifted up he would draw all men unto him?
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15.
What if we truly partnered with Jesus in ...compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience... forgiving one another, as Colossians instructs? And even when our hearts are stuck with sorrow at an unkind, unfair, or untrue assessment of that which we hold dear, may we choose to forgive the spiritual blindness, cover the sin with the Blood, and call the hearts of the offender to God? May we pray blind eyes be opened and ears hear what the spirit of the Lord is saying to the Church? May we forgive the malice of half-truths and soundbites spun to fit a twisted narrative? May we be quick to forgive them. For they know not what seeds they are sowing. May God have mercy and the seeds not spring up in their lives, the lives of their children, or in the generations that follow.
Jesus said over and over in John 14-17 that he wanted our Joy to be full. Many have lost sight of joy during this trying season. But when we walk in quiet confidence and allow God to fight for justice where it is lacking -- one on one and face to face -- might that be a better model for change than trying to force society to interface with an ideology with parts that contradict our biblical worldview?
"Our task (as the Church) is not to protest the world into certain moral conformity but to attract the world in the saving beauty of Christ. We do this best, not by protest or political action, but by enacting a beautiful presence within the world." Brian Zahnd*
May the cry of our heart be to love one another. May the soft answer of a meek and quiet spirit fall gently from our lips May it truly turn away wrath.
That would be beautiful. That Beauty will save the world.