The Beauty of the Lord
Based on “In the Same Room as Jesus” by Philip E. Morrison
As we look around the world we live in, it’s easy to become jaded. Earth is a deeply broken place, scarred by the Fall and the pervasive influence of sin. Until the Lord returns, it will remain damaged and corrupt. But let’s not become blind to the most amazing truth about this world: it’s full of incredible, breathtaking beauty.
The thunderous mists of Victoria Falls. The grim majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro. Vast forests, rolling oceans, sweeping deserts… The world is full of spectacular sights that overwhelm us with awe.
But if you think that beauty can only be found in national parks, you’re missing out. Wonders are all around us. A small green plant poking up from barren earth. A flock of cranes flying overhead. The rainbow glint of sunlight on water. Tree canopies swirling in the wind. The fragrance of lavender or jasmine.
When we’re confronted by this world’s splendour, we are invited to ask a unique question. Why is this beauty here? Is it ultimately meaningless, or does it point to something beyond itself?
What if beauty existed to tell us about the creator of beauty? What if we can learn something about the artist by studying his art? Philip Morrison has realized this incredible truth. In his recent book, “In the Same Room as Jesus: Entering a Deeper Friendship with Christ,” Morrison describes how recognising the power of beauty has helped him draw near to Jesus like never before.
For much of his Christian life, Morrison felt emotionally detached from God, even though he was deeply devoted to him. Though Jesus was the Lord of his life, he wasn’t his closest friend. Christ was in the next room, near but inaccessible. But now, Morrison is learning how to enter the same room as Jesus and join his God in deeply emotional fellowship.
One of the main ways God has changed Morrison’s life is through beauty. Morrison writes, “Beauty is something that is newly being opened to me. I believe in my younger days I was too insecure to enter into the beauty around me. Since I had shut down a lot of my emotional side I had no capacity or ability to appreciate it, or at least acknowledge it. It didn’t fit the macho image (shell?) I wanted to project. I was a man forgetting that I was human made in the image of the creator of beauty and all that is lovely.”
But by the grace of God, Morrison’s eyes have been opened. He has learned that “beauty should move us toward God. Beauty is a gateway to worship and worship is the key that opens the door of our heart to intimacy with Jesus who is the creator of beauty.”
Of course, we must be careful. It can be easy to let the world’s beauty become an idol. Love for anything can become a love that draws our hearts away from God. Instead, we must remember, as Morrison reminds us, that “we do not worship the creation, but we revel in the reality of the creator that is reflected in creation’s beauty.”
But when it’s done wisely, letting beauty guide us to worshipping God is deeply biblical. Psalm 19:1 says that “the heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” James 1:17 reminds us that “whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.” Psalm 8:1 cannot contain the praise: “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.”
This attitude of worship can be ours today. Jesus is delighted when we thank him for the good things he’s given us. Since God is the one responsible for everything pleasant and beautiful in the world, let’s thank him every time we encounter one of his good gifts! When we hear birdsong, let’s praise God. When we marvel at a towering mountain of clouds, let’s worship the Lord. When we watch a squirrel foraging for food, let’s give Jesus the glory.
And as we learn to see God’s breathtaking beauty through the wonderous world we live in, our relationship with Jesus will grow deeper than ever before.
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In the Same Room with Jesus will be out soon!