Sometimes the beauty of the Gospel is concealed in a community until persecution, and like a precious fragrance, Christ in us is revealed from our very brokenness.
Furthermore, when Christ preached on beauty, he spoke as if beauty was bestowed on each individual directly by God as a gift of divine love, not to be found outside of ourselves, but a grace discoverable within, fashioned and refashioned by our Heavenly Father. (Matt 6:28-30)
"And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers... he will certainly care for you..." - Matt 6:30
What emotion! What beauty Christ must have apprehended in that moment, while bathing, honoring, and blessing these precious and beautiful feet, perhaps with even tears, but certainly with affection. And yet how often does our holy word, "beauty," get defiled by the world? The Gospel's definition of beauty was not engraved upon tablets of stone, nor preserved on parchment fragments, but nailed to a wooden cross, where from Christ's pierced side a mixture of water and blood would pour forth. And indeed, just as in the garden where the woman - God's most beautiful creation - was fashioned from the side of Adam, the Church would awaken to find herself miraculously made new and adorned as a bride, clothed with the righteousness of Christ through the unspeakable depths of His divine love. This is beauty!
And oh, how we fail in our calling to preach the Gospel when we make it about arguments that appeal merely to man's reason. Did we apprehend the love of God through our reason? Or were we rather first apprehended by the beauty of Christ's love, and only then did we seek to understand the scriptures? The power of the Gospel, then, rests not in man's ability to teach or to understand all the religious meanings and theology contained therein, but rather, the transformation made possible by the Gospel is a process which takes place between two human hearts, where one is being loved and the other is being beautiful. Beautiful like Christ. Beautiful like the feet he sanctified that went to the ends of the earth.
May the beautiful heart of Christ, ever beating, ever gentle, make His message come alive again and again as each of us carry His message forward to the nations, one beautiful step at a time.
"... I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation..." Romans 1:16
A place to share reflections from Thailand.