True beauty lies within all of us
Every once in a while I find myself stopping, in mid-step, and being just absolutely clobbered by the beauty that surrounds us. I was walking along a trail when I saw a sight that just stopped me in my tracks. It wasn’t a picturesque landscape of wonderful wild flowers that adorn that trail but rather it was an insignificant granite boulder sitting alongside the trail.
Most people would probably just pass it by, probably not even notice it. They might step up on it to get a better view of the landscape, or trip over it on accident. Maybe even curse it for being in the way. But as I came around a bend of the trail, and it came into my field of vision I suddenly stopped and marveled at the beauty of such a rock.
This rock was special because of the unique way that God was expressing Godself within and upon this granite rock. It looked like someone had taken globs and globs of sticky mud or mortar and had thrown it at the rock making these roundish layers all over. At first look one would not think that it was beautiful at all, compared to the scene around you. But if you look closely enough you would be able to see the beauty found within a unique piece of creation, as pictures begin to rise out of the formation of stone. Pictures that imagination alone would be hard to provide.
I saw within that stone whole landscapes of otherworldly beauty. Jagged mountain peaks and stone valleys. Rough roads and landscaped hills. A mirror of the beautiful place in which we live set into a granite boulder.
God in God’s creative and redemptive work truly has a way of expressing Godself in the world in which we live. This makes me think of the term “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” yet all too often we do. We find that if someone or something doesn’t fit into our definition of “beautiful” or “interesting,” then it is not someone or something we want to know or experience further. Because of our own self-centeredness and pride, our sinful human nature gets in the way and instead of seeing someone we ought to love, we judge them. We are not able to “see” the unique characteristics that God has created each person with. And in the not seeing, we can hurt.
Christ calls us to love one another as Christ loves the church, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This means that we need to get beyond our own self conceit and by the help of the Holy Spirit turn it over to God and choose to love those around us. We need to see the beauty that is found within every individual and choose to make other people around us more important than ourselves. This is what a caring Christ-like community is all about, sacrificing ourselves for the good of the people around us, and upholding them in love.
– Joel Martyn is pastor of Hope Lutheran of the Sierra Church.