A Commitment to Beauty

There is so much pain - in ministry, in our own private lives, in the wider world, in God's heart - and so, I am coming to see, that we are called towards a commitment to beauty. It is both antidote and nourishment at the same time. Wendell Berry put it like this in The Peace of Wild Things:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of sill water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


My boy, George Winston, puts it like this in his reworking of Cast Your Fate to the Wind:


When I was a young teen I first heard Vince Guaraldi's version of this song and immediately fell in love with it. Later, Vin Scella used it to open his late night FM radio station on WNEW in NYC and it would always transport me to a place of openness and hope. Now I use Winston's version as a prayer and meditation tune - it evokes three worlds to me all at once - city jazz, the open sky of the southwest and the vastness of the inner soul.

It takes time to find beauty today - but it is always there - as our friends in the most harsh circumstances remind us who rush around with so much to do. It is always there...

Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more. "Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

"What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. "

No wonder I keep going back to Cat Stevens...

Comments

BE said…
Wow. I just read this - after having written my own blog about beauty. The world appears to be in sinc today. Thank you for YOUR wonderful words of beauty and wisdom. And the pictures you posted are incredible as well!
RJ said…
You are kind, B. Thanks.

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