Day 31/21 – NT Wright and the senior cousins

31 days

I am still struggling to get over this flu. It has really done me in. So much so that I took myself off to the Dr this morning – a very rare event. She suggested rest. I laughed out loud.

So today I am resorting to one of the greats to walk me through this pursuit of wedded beauty. NT Wright is one who I would happily follow through any theological minefield.  What has rung most true on this journey is this idea that beauty, in it’s pure form of revealing the living God, sits closely and comfortably next to love and truth.   One enhances and echoes the other.  I love that Wright calls truth and love the ‘senior cousins’. Like they are the protective older cousins watching over beauty, ensuring its safety and purpose. And the way that beauty adoringly reflects truth and love, if you have the eyes to it.  This is bursting with holy light and life.

I am starting to sink into this idea.  To wiggle around in it and get comfortable. Trying to find my place and my way. It is good.

 

…After all, if new creation has begun, if beauty has awoken afresh in the new Temple, the living home of the living God, as he awakens from the tomb, and if beauty is now let loose in all the world, it will rightly generate new forms, new possibilities, new delights. It will come closer and closer to its two senior cousins, Love and Truth, showing with them how to avoid the other false polarization, a brittle objectivity and a collapsing subjectivity, because it will be kept in place by the work of image-bearing, Spirit-filled human beings as they reflect the glory of God into the world and the glory of the world back to God. NT Wright.

 

I am also excited to delve into some new books and words over the next little while. Books that I am fairly certain that will be beauty-filled and push me further towards life and truth. ‘A Thousand Mornings’ by Mary Oliver, ‘Writing down the bones’ by Natalie Goldberg and ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt. So many good words!

 

(All the posts from this series can be found here. Thanks for reading along.)

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Day 31/20 – Beatuy via SMS

31 days

My Thor loving friend* sent me this message the other night…

‘God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty’. St John of the Cross

‘Worship, then, at every level, always means God and the priority of God; however thick the veils through which He is apprehended, and however grotesque the disguise He may seem to wear….But the mighty Object of our worship stands beyond and over against all this in His utter freedom and distinctness. ‘Can’ and ‘cannot’, ‘is and ‘is not’ must not be predicated of Him, without a virtual remembrance that these words merely refer to our limited experience and not to God as He is in Himself‘. Evelyn Underhill

‘…however thick the veils through which He is apprehended, and however grotesque the disguise He may seem to wear….’. I don’t really have words for the possibility and hope that is wrapped up in this statement. It is heavy with mercy and deep grace.

But mostly I am overwhelmed that my friend read this, thought of me, and took the time to message me. That right there is beautiful and life giving in its generosity and willingness to walk alongside. And that is quite enough for now.

(‘Thor loving friend’ does not do justice to this dear friend. But few words would.)

(All the posts from this series can be found here. Thanks for reading along.)

Day 31/18 – I am curious and I am learning

31 days

I have hinted here before that pursing beauty as a way of discovering more of God’s truth and life is new to me. I have been skeptical of the possibility. And I have long been enveloped by the pursuit of God through study and fighting for God in the midst of doubt and fear. God and I have struggled through the last few years. It has rarely been easy.  I feel like this new season of God revealing himself is a gift. I am curious as to what this season will teach me.  I am curious to start thinking about God creating us to crave beauty as a way of revealing himself. I see Him wedded to beauty in ways that I did not expect or imagine.  There is a depth and grace to the way God created the world that evokes more than just beauty for beauty’s sake.   His great salvation story can be seen stretched across the sky and in the tiny yellow wattle blossom.

I am sitting with these verses again today. Breathing them in, tasting their goodness, swimming in the possibility of them.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Psalm 19:1-4

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

(All the posts from this series can be found here. Thanks for reading along. x)

Day 31/12 – Quiet Night

31 daysI think this busy week has caught up with me.

This afternoon I sat on the couch and watched Dr Who. That helped.
I’m choosing a quiet night, a cup of tea and more Doctor Who. Don’t judge. X

‘We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one’. The Doctor, The Big Bang

 

(Follow along on the 31 Days series here)

Day 31/12 – Not prepared for this

31 daysFor since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

I am dwelling on this verse today. It is tumbling around my head as I make coffee and attempt to tame the banksia bush in the garden.

Romans is infernally perplexing to me: it was not written as systematic theology but so often it has become a rule book and a to do list.  I find myself constantly trying to extricate the true story of Romans from the bad (and well intentioned) teaching that has been layered upon it.  Romans 1:20 comes in the midst of Paul having a good go at those who don’t recognize God and His glory through creation.  There is so much going on here.

But what this verse does hint at is that God’s character is on display through the created world.  That in some glorious, mysterious way God speaks through the rain and the knotted branches.

And so I delve into the glory-filled Psalms for more; more hints and more wonder.

I find more than hints and suggestions.

I uncover grace filled skies and booming declarations of God’s infinite goodness wrapped in mountains and oceans.

I find God pushing towards me through words and wonder.

I find a God who delights to be discovered.

I find a place to stop and rest.

I find that God is wedded to beauty in a way that I was not prepared for.

Psalm 19:1-4

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voicegoes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

 

(All the posts from this series can be found here. Thanks for reading along. x)

Day 31/12 – Wedded Beauty Free Write (the journey so far)

photo(1)31 days

She insists on holding my necklace.  ‘It is the colours and its bewdiful’, she says. And that is enough to make her stretch her hands out and grab the beads. She holds them carefully in her tiny, pudgy hands.

It is all the colours, all the important colours. Pale green, bright coral, deep dark blue, peach and grey.  It is my favorite necklace. It is her favorite necklace.

New books arrived today. Books to point me in the right direction, to lift my head and hold my hand.

I hope.

Books on art and finding God in the ordinary.

I have lost the art of seeing God in the everyday. The quiet prayers that come when you are sure of his presence in the supermarket and in the kitchen. I miss those moments. For so long life has been about scratching at the surface and choosing to keep digging down, beyond the layers and the light, in the dirt and murkiness of life and doubt.

It does not come naturally to me. I have to work at taking notice.

By our back door there is a horrible patch of dirt that we cannot convince anything to grow in. My last ditch effort involved nothing more than a bag of soil, a box of grass seed and a thoughtless prayer. Weeks passed. And then yesterday the first tentative and pioneering blades raised their heads. Today there are many more and that barren, dusty patch is tinged with green and life. It makes me unreasonably happy.

I am learning to listen to my breath and my wordless prayers. I think there is goodness to be found when quietness and curiosity collide.  My timid heart is learning to look up, where it can see beauty and grace with ease. I am leaning into to where light is common and the shadows have receded. I am hopeful and I am cautious. I want to learn. I want to know the secrets found in setting suns and changing seasons.  My curious and timid heart is ready for this.

(All the posts from this series can be found here. Thanks for reading along. x)