Last winter I was driving in my car listening to Krista Tippet’s, “Speaking of Faith” radio program. My attention was immediately grabbed by a quite endearing Irish accent that came over the radio waves. His voice was calming and soothing. He started to talk about beauty as a sort of force from within the world that called to a person. He spoke of the “inner landscapes” of beauty inside the human soul. He named his inspiration for the term the hills of Connemara on the West Coast of Ireland in County Galway. That is where the late Celtic poet and philosopher grew up.
As he spoke my ears were at full attention and my interest was incredibly peaked. “Beauty is a force in the world that calls to us…Humans are the place where the invisible becomes visible…The human soul does not just hunger for beauty, but it feels most alive in its presence.”
That idea resonated inside of me so much! There are so many longings that my soul feels. Yet more than anything, I am inspired by beauty, and not just the obvious beauty of a sunset although, they can be quite breathtaking. However, it is the beauty that I can see in the eyes of a homeless man as he smiles through his circumstances or even the exquisite beauty of a broken heart that causes my soul to be stirred. It is the loveliness of lighting candles just because they make your heart happy or the first tear that falls when you see someone find Jesus. Beauty is found in so many places and so many things. However, one thing can be certain of it…it will call to you even if it whispers from the most unlikely places.
With all that beauty that is so prevalent in the world, there is also an incredible amount darkness that pervades it. Most days are filled with struggling to live in that tension. How can I delight in the beauty of a child’s imagination when I know there are millions of children being trafficked around the world? How can I truly be moved by the word of the Holy Spirit coming forth through an individual when there are corrupt preachers scamming for people’s money? To everything good there is also an evil. My Aunt can understand all the woes my soul feels from living in the world and not of it. She always tells me that I want to live in “the garden” (yes, the Genesis garden). This brings me to the obvious conclusion that we were made to live in the garden.
Humanity was made to be in perfect communion with its God. Our souls were made for the beauty of God. Why wouldn’t we recognize glimpses of Him in an instant? We were created for it. However, sin and evil did indeed enter in and humanity was cast out from perfect union. It was then, as N.T. Wright likes to refer to it, “God knew He would have to launch a new project of new creation and new humanity”. God knew we would now have to be recovered because He loved us and He refused to be out of union with us.