Beauty, Joy, and Creation
Thinking about why
I have a feeling that what is beautiful and joyful in our world in some way reflects the purpose of creation and mankind.
Looking at Revelation 21-22 we see the goal of history as a union of heaven and earth, God and man together, a new creation of filled with the light, shape and life of heaven.
When I lived in Okinawa I used to be amazed to see so many people come out to the sea wall in Sunabe to watch the sun set over the ocean. Everyone would just stop what they were doing and just watch. Since moving to Ome in Tokyo we no longer have the ocean but the mountains in view each day as the sun sets. Yet why does a sunset captivate us so much? Is it not when we see a glimpse of the world to come? Do we not see heaven touch earth and meet together for a special moment each day? Photographers love this moment. They call it ‘the golden hour’ when every picture just seems to look better in the light.1
We all know the special joy of weddings. For many people it is something they feel their life moving or even pushing towards. Here again we see a glimpse of the goal of history when Christ and his bride the Church will be joined together forever. The joy of a wedding, of a marriage, is a glimpse of that joy we will feel on the last day when Christ returns.
With buying a house comes a lot to do but also a lot of dreams. For an Australian one of those is having a BBQ with your mates on the deck. Is this the ideal day for an Australian? Yet why? Feasting together is a moment when people come together and thus reflects the goal of history, …what about the wood deck? Is not a wood deck also a place where outside and inside meet, a union of opposites with glorious potential?
Heaven and Earth, Christ and the Church, Man and Woman …etc our world is filled with different things coming together and when joined making something glorious. When seen it is beautiful and when experienced it is joyful. It could be as simple as the joy children have when playing with lego, or as deep as the satisfaction a chef feels when all of the different ingredients prepared and cooking together come into a dish he desires to share with others. Even a baseball player has that moment when he is in the zone, everything is just coming together, and when the bat and ball meet the crowds cheer, the team rejoices, and everyone crosses the home plate. A ‘home run’ or even a ‘perfect game’ is a glimpse of the day when everything will be as it should.2
The church is the body of Christ and its gatherings are a moment when we join the worship of heaven with all the saints. In this sense each Sunday is in a special way a preview and foretaste of the end. The church is an outpost of the new creation where God’s life flows into the world. Yet the world we live in, the sun, moon and stars, our relationship as men and women, sexuality and gender, work and rest, fun and enjoyment, all point us towards that future which is coming and presently breaking into our world through Christ, the gospel, and his people.
The light of Christ allows us to look upon the world with new sweetness.
Could not this explain why we are so captivated by story telling and movies? We are ourselves are in the one great story of history; God’s story of creation, redemption, and consummation. Evil is overcome, the curse is undone, and creation’s purpose is fulfilled.