The Objective Reality of Beauty

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
Psalm 145:5-7

It is in loving God, other men, and all creatures for themselves that we begin to partake of their goodness and beauty. Looking at and loving that which is other than ourselves, we begin to “incarnate” it. This is vital to artistic growth, just as it is to spiritual and psychological growth. Alienation in the form of introspection, self-love, enclosure in the circle or sphere of subjectivity is not the way to know oneself; outer-directed interaction with the objectively real is. To know and love God is the beginning of all joy, and it can yield the gift of a divine self-forgetfulness which is the secret of great art. [1]

Beauty is gratuitous, but it is also necessary. By it, God draws us out of ourselves and into His life. Beauty and goodness attract us, and we naturally move into the self-giving dynamic of love. From the simplest act of breathing to the greatest works of our hands, we’re made to participate in God’s creative purposes. Moment by moment, day by day, we become more of what we love, offering the beauty and goodness He is making in us to the display of His splendor.

PRAYER

Holy God, Creator God, our Father, we praise Your majesty and beauty. We thank You for disclosing Yourself in all that You make and do. We thank you for this awesome and astonishing world, and for coloring our lives with Your multi-splendored grace. Kindle love in our hearts, great Lover of our souls, that Your holy creativity might flow freely through us. Amen.

[1] Leanne Payne, The Broken Image (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1981), 92.
Etching: Wenceslas Hollar, 1607-1677, Creation of the Firmament State 2 [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.