This article is part 3 of my Goodness, Love, and Beauty series. Click to read Part 1, Why Spread Goodness?
In this series, we’re discussing the three most fundamental things we were made to do. They’re also the three most fundamental things that describe our future Eden: Heaven.
Goodness makes sense. So does love. They’re both fruits of the Spirit after all. But beauty? This one still surprises me, but I think beauty is absolutely necessary in our lives.
To be clear, I’m talking about a different kind of beauty. Not the kind of beauty that describes a person, a work of art, or something in nature that simply looks pretty.
No, the kind of beauty I’m talking about is different. It’s the beauty of a beautiful memory, a beautiful relationship, a beautiful moment, or a beautiful work of art that reveals part of the artist’s heart. It’s a picture of goodness so pure that we can’t help being touched and fulfilled. Beauty, in a sense, is the radiance of God’s goodness in the world, almost like we’re touching a piece of Heaven. It’s the expression of His goodness.
And once we experience true beauty, we finally feel like we’re truly living.
Let me tell you about a time when I felt truly touched by the beauty of God.
My home church congregation held my state’s annual lectureship a few months back, bringing preachers from all across the state to preach sermons over a special weekend of fellowship. As a special treat, we also invited Keith Lancaster, one of our denomination’s most well-known praise leaders, to lead us through powerful and uplifting moments of singing.
The weekend started like any other statewide church gathering. Friends from across the nearby states (and Canada) that we hadn’t seen in forever came streaming through the doors. We fellowshipped. We caught up. We listened to the first sermon. We learned that THREE is an important number in the Bible. (Did you think that it was a coincidence that there are THREE articles in this series?) Everyone sang together at the top of their lungs. We connected over the great beauty of it all. The second sermon of the night was interrupted by a baby having a seizure. Not beautiful, but she was okay. After the THREE segments of the night were over, we went to bed, satisfied.
Saturday commenced in the same manner. More uplifting and personal sermons. More singing as we learned new songs together. The day’s events geared up for the gathering in a giant, refurbished, old barn (seriously, the ranch barn is nice enough that they host wedding receptions there). We all met together to worship and the hometown preacher gave his message.
On day THREE we could all tell that our precious weekend of fellowship and encouragement was coming to a close. The perfectly themed and moving sermon was from Revelation 7, which has to contain some of the best praise anthems in the whole Bible:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Revelation 7:9-17, NIV
Isn’t the passage just beautiful? As he was reading and teaching over these words, I remembered one of my favorite songs that was based on this passage. As the preacher was concluding the last sermon of the weekend and we knew everything was coming to a close, Keith came up to lead the last song, and guess what? It was the very song I was longing to sing:
As the final chorus came around, the leaders all came forward, hugged, and wrapped their arms around each other’s shoulders. It was a precious moment when we knew that our special time together was about to end. The singing, the sermons, the shared experiences, the coming united together as a community, centered around remembering our loving, beautiful, and good God – it all had bonded us together, and we didn’t want the moment to end. We repeated the chorus several times (THREE times sounds right). Tears came down my face. I felt like I had experienced a piece of Heaven.
There was only one word I knew to describe this moment. It was beauty, and it was then that I realized how much we long for beauty.
I know that I can’t describe that moment well enough to give it justice, but I hope that you reading this can think back to several similar beautiful, touching moments in your lives, moments when you felt truly filled with happiness, satisfaction, and that everything was right in the world. It’s these kinds of moments that make me feel alive, and I so desire to create these moments for the people I love. I hope you do as well. I hope you understand why I believe that experiencing beauty feels like touching a piece of Heaven. What describes Heaven better than a continuous stream of beautiful experiences?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could experience beauty more often in our world? There are so many ways that beauty can be expressed if we allow God’s goodness to work through us. I hope that you are encouraged to experience and share beauty in your life today.
If there are any experiences of beauty, or even just beautiful pictures and art, please share them with us below!