G.K. Chesterton once said that Christianity is beauty and that it means being able to control a million monsters of ugliness.This is true Beauty, the Beauty that overcomes all darkness.
This is the Beauty that promises we don’t have to do any of it on our own.
This is the Beauty that saves the world.
This Beauty is Christ, Himself. It is repentance and forgiveness. It is the Carpenter from Nazareth who fishes for men. It is “further up and further in” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle). It is finding an empty tomb. It is God nailed to a cross with His arms outstretched, so we can know that He is victorious.
Beauty is forgiving fingers writing in the sand, and righteous hands dropping righteous stones, and a worthless woman looking right into the eyes of Jesus Christ.
His beauty is wild and it is order.
It is sacred and it is profane.
It is good, but it is never safe.
Beauty means that out of the darkest, deadest, most silent place comes life. The cedars of Lebanon have been slashed and torn to the ground. The stumps are ragged. The sap drips slowly, dying, gone. And there is no hope. But, long after that place has been forgotten, a little living shoot grows out of the deadest stump. And that impossible life is the Branch that will save this world.
What does this beauty do to us? It shakes us up, it spits us out, it scrapes off our dragon scales. It breaks us. And that breaking is the only thing that can make us whole again.
How do we make beauty real?
Love what He loves.
Make wonderful things with your hands.
Say true things with your mouth.
Gaze at good things with your eyes.
Be hungry for righteousness, and be filled up with mercy, and be pure in your heart.
Find something that gives you hope and shout it with all of the breath in your lungs.
Love the real, messy, stained people that get in your way.
When you look at the world, see deadness, see ugliness, see failures. But see beauty a million times more brightly. Walk on the ancient paths and grab onto the ancient truth. We can survive without science. We can survive without logic. We can survive without politics. We can survive without technology, or practicality, or comfort. But we cannot survive without beauty. Because without beauty, there would be nothing left to do to the world. “There is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for,” wrote Tolkien. Make beautiful things and melt away the darkness. Make beautiful things and know that this old world is waking up. Make beautiful things and know that the curse is being undone.
Make beautiful things and know that they are worth fighting for.
Beauty will save the world. Why? Because beauty is hope.