Beauty out of Context

Who doesn’t want to gaze upon the beautiful? Our culture seems obsessed with it. Magasines, TV programs and advertising agencies flood our senses with what is considered beautiful. The question seems to be, “What is beautiful?”. But I’d suggest that almost anything is beautiful – if seen in the right context. Much that is beautiful is invisible. Why is this? Because the beauty is obscured. The real question should be, “Where is the beauty?”

Take the butterfly in the photograph. It settled on a shelf in the kitchen yesterday. The warm weather led us to open a door to the garden, and the butterfly strayed indoors. Out in the garden, moving among the shrubs, flowers and trees it might be noticed. But here, in the starkness of the whiteness it blazed its beauty and shouted to be seen.

Jesus had a beauty that was not conventional. He was hardly a ‘looker’! Is. 53:2 “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Instead, he had an internal beauty which led to a life of beauty. The authenticity of his beauty was in stark contrast to that of the religious, Matt. 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” 
In the heavenly realms the beauty of Jesus was invisible to us here on earth. Only by leaving his ‘natural’ home could his beauty become visible to humankind. There is a lesson here for us as followers of Jesus. The transformed hearts we have been given are of limited value if surrounded only by similar hearts. It is by stepping outside our homes, churches and circle of Christian friends that the beautiful things God has done in us can be seen for all their glory by the rest of the world. 
When we get out there we stand out, look different and reveal a beauty that shocks the world. What a privilege that is! Take the beauty into places where it will be noticed.
Malcolm Cox

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