I’m listening to an instrumental rendition of Ave Maria. Piano only. I close my eyes and I can kinda see the music. I can feel the delicate notes dancing together. Each note, by itself very plain and boring, comes together with its mate to make some sort of beautiful work of art. I don’t know the words to this song and I only have a faint idea as to what it’s about, but it’s very beautiful.
I’ve often sat and wondered at beauty. I might have said before that it is beauty that helped convince me in the beginning that we are much more than animals. A dog doesn’t gaze into the sunset. A dolphin doesn’t build great cathedrals. A monkey can’t appreciate a Rembrandt. But we can. We look over the Grand Canyon and we stop to take a breath.
But I’m really not sure what beauty it. I can’t define it, though I’ve tried. It’s difficult, elusive. What is beautiful and what is ugly? Sometimes that depends on the beholder, but sometimes it’s more objective. I think beauty, like love, is such a high thing that it defies our attempts to define. Things like beauty and love are a part of God’s realm, and while we give words to these things we aren’t totally sure what those words actually mean. I’m sure I could make up a few definitions to love and beauty that would suffice for a dictionary, but I don’t think they would be able to do justice to the great meaning behind the words.
And I think of all the beautiful things in the world. The creative works of God in nature and the cosmos. The image of God working in the creativity of man in words, paintings, music, architecture and everything else. Sometimes I just sit and look or listen at whatever is in front of me and I’m in awe. I wonder… If it’s so beautiful here… If this cursed world has so many things to taste and touch and see, if fallen man can create such lovely expressions, what will glory be like? What will the river flowing from the Throne be like? What sounds would it make? What songs will we sing? I suppose the image of God will still work in us to be creative. Perhaps we’ll write new songs. Maybe we’ll paint and carve things to the glory of God that we could never imagine or appreciate here. And if all that we see around us is the canvas, what must the Painter be like? I would much rather meet Handel than to listen to Messiah. The creator is always more interesting than the creation because in the creator we can learn his motivation and try to understand what he says is beautiful. How wonderful it would be to know the mind of God.