BLOG: Reflections of beauty

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth… then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:1, 26 (ESV)

As my foot fell on the sandy pavement, the silence physically shook me. For a split second, I thought the blasting music in my car had finally made me deaf. After the two-hour car ride from the suburbs of Los Angeles, California, the surrounding scene overwhelmed me.

I watched as the light from the full moon danced across the desert around the rock piles and between the Joshua trees, decorating the landscape with silhouettes and shadows. I looked up to see the sky dotted with thousands of little dots, in addition to the one large enough to reflect the light of the hidden sun. Goodness, it had been too long since I left the city.

It had been one of those days I needed an escape. After coming face to face with many of my own weaknesses and receiving news of an unexpected death, my heart was heavy. But as my two friends and I made our way to the top of the closest rock pile, I realized I had escaped right into the presence of my Creator. In those moments, the heartache melted away and all I could do was worship.

Can you imagine if there was no one to praise for such pure beauty?

The thought circled around my head as I continued to watch the desert and take comfort in the stillness. How powerful His creation must be, to provide such profound relief for a broken heart. How much more powerful God himself must be, to create such beings.

God’s creativity is the first attribute we read in the Bible. He created the earth and the universe as a reflection of His beauty. Afterwards, however, He looked down and decided He was not yet finished. On the sixth day, he breathed life into His newest creation, not only to reflect His own beauty, but to give us the ability to create beauty as well.

A few weeks following the trip to Joshua Tree, I traveled to Beirut, Lebanon, during a communications internship with OM.  Beirut is a city known as an artist’s haven. There are dozens of galleries and summer festivals in every part of the city celebrating their ability to express their joys and their pain with anyone who sees it. Even the famous painted staircases and the street graffiti tell stories of hope and redemption.

As I wandered through the streets and galleries, I was reportedly struck with the same thought I had that night in the desert:

Can you imagine if there was no one to praise for such pure beauty?

As beings created in God’s image, we have been invited into His act of creation for the same purpose He has for creating: to bring glory to Himself. The church has historically tried to define art to the “Christian adjective”—Christian art, Christian movies, Christian music, etc.—as if He can only fit into one little box. And while we cannot design the earth itself, God has provided a means for us to contribute to what He has already created.

Yet, when we see his beauty escaping through the heart and hands of another image bearer, how often do we simply fall into worship?

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