“…Our ordinary experiences of beauty are given to us to provide a clue, a starting-point, a signpost, from which we move on to recognize, to glimpse, to be overwhelmed by, to adore, and so to worship, not just the majesty, but the beauty of God himself.”NT Wright, For All God’s Worth
I’ve been thinking about worship this week and ran across this NT Wright quote. He emphasizes worshiping the beauty of our God. The scripture points to the beauty of God – including his majesty, splendor, and holiness – in several passages.
- 1 Chronicles 16:29 NIRV – Praise the Lord for the glory that belongs to him. Bring an offering and come to him. Worship the Lord because of his beauty and holiness.
- Psalm 27:4 VOICE – I am pleading with the Eternal for this one thing, my soul’s desire: To live with Him all of my days— in the shadow of His temple, To behold His beauty and ponder His ways in the company of His people.
- Psalm 50:2 NLT – From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance.
- Psalm 104:1-2 MSG – O my soul, bless God! God, my God, how great you are! Beautifully, gloriously robed, Dressed up in sunshine, and all heaven stretched out for your tent.
- Isaiah 6:3 NET – Seraphs stood over him… They called out to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! His majestic splendor fills the entire earth!”
- Isaiah 33:17 VOICE- Ah, you will see for yourself the beauty of the One who rules over all. Your eyes will take in a land that stretches far beyond the horizon.
- Isaiah 60:19 AMPC- The sun shall no more be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you, but the Lord shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory and your beauty.
- Habakkuk 3:4 NLT – His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from his hands, where his awesome power is hidden.
Ways we experience the beauty of God
The beauty of God is obvious in the natural world around us. From stunning sunsets and majestic mountains to delicate flowers and intricate ecosystems, the world around us is often seen as a reflection of God’s creative power. I love to walk through forests, gardens – even nurseries that sell plants to see the wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors in God’s creative mind.
The character of God is beautiful! God is loving, compassionate, just, merciful, and holy. These attributes are often seen as beautiful because they represent the best of humanity’s potential. I marvel at his compassion for such obstinate people. His mercy in the face of our disobedience is overwhelming. I can only imagine His holiness. Much like Isaiah, when I glimpse His holiness, I cringe at my own sinfulness and my unworthiness to be in His presence. What a joy it is to claim the saving power of Christ to cleanse and restore me.
The love and intimacy we experience with God is beautiful. His desire for deep and meaningful connections with us is transformative, giving us hope for our future. It is in that deep, abiding presence that we find peace and joy, even in the midst of challenging circumstances. In the storms of life, we can testify to God’s beauty because His presence is ever with us.
There are many ways to worship God in His beauty. These few are ones that I find helpful –
Spending time in nature can be a powerful way to connect with God’s beauty. As I walk about the neighborhood, I like to capture pictures of beauty – seeds, berries, limbs, creatures, and more. Taking snapshots helps me focus on nature as I walk and gives me time to express gratitude and adoration for God’s beauty.
Music and art are also potent ways to explore God’s beauty. Singing worship songs that highlight God’s character reminds me of His beauty. Exploring art can also lift our minds and souls towards worship. Currently, a favorite artist is Scott Erickson – you can see his work on Instagram. He creates meditative art that is both inspirational and provoking.
Last, prayer is a way to recognize, honor, and celebrate God’s beauty. A reoccurring prayer is that my eyes would be opened to see God’s beauty, especially in His human creation! I want to see people through His eyes and see a reflection of God in each person I meet.
During this Lenten season, in what ways are you experiencing the beauty of God?
Father, You who are creator, redeemer, and friend
You who created beauty,
May I see Your beauty around me today?
My prayer resonates with the Psalmist –
That I might dwell in your sanctuary,
Gazing on Your beauty,
Living in harmony with Your people
And giving You all glory and praise
For You alone are worthy!