I want to start a new series on seeing beauty today. I wrote to my brother this morning with some thoughts on being a man, so I feel sufficiently bolstered in my masculinity to attempt this. But if this starts to get a little too "sensitive fairyland," I may pull out some of that email just to rebalance…so there’s your full disclosure.
Very few things frustrate us more than injustice. A friend told me of a recent high school basketball game she attended where the ridiculously blind, idiot, stupid, fat, ugly refs shook their fat little power hungry fists just to sabotage the game.
Have you ever felt this way too? “Let me show you how to wear that whistle, ref.”
Injustice. We HATE it. And yet, benefactors of grace, we never seem to bristle when it’s God who’s bearing the injustice of our inadequacy, our insufficiency, our complete unsuitability to be so lavishly loved. We don’t even blink at our ingratitude for the undeserved gift. My better self (probably after the game) would thank God for the reminder, the chance to identify and see his love anew. Don’t I deserve injustice? Surely God doesn’t, but he takes it anyway. Why should I even get to assume he should be the one to bear all injustice? Can’t I handle just a thimble full?
I can. But it’s hard. So hard to believe that so much love really could be ours.
But this is about making the "opposite move," the one Jesus taught. The one that turns our natural self-preservation inclinations on their heads. God started it at the very beginning drawing meaning out of chaos, light from dark, shape from void. The world isn’t meant to exist. But look! It does! And we get to join in the holy upside-down resistance, defining of everything we see.
We get to draw on the endless depth, the insights, the talents we’ve been given, the longings which lead to devotion and the eye-popping delight of seeing order come about out of seeming randomness. In chaos theory, there’s a principle called SDIC, Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions, and it’s there that strange order tends to arise from seeming chaos. How, science doesn’t know. There’s no way to measure all the variables. But God holds all those things and creates new experiences for us out of them every day right under our noses. James Gleik doesn’t mention it in his book on chaos and the beauty of fractals that mirror nature—in ferns and pine cones and underwater sand formed of waves—but the initial conditions that hold all the outworkings of the final result are predicated by a more sentient creator than our minds can ever comprehend. The beauty of everything begins in a seed—whether the seed of a tree, a human, or a thought. And the life that grows out of it is ours to be inspired by and listened to and learned from, and then synthesized and said in endlessly new ways. That’s our job as human beings—to point meaning out of seeming chaos. And it’s a good life!
So to bring that back to where I started this rambling diatribe, what injustice is there in this high call to define reality and give it shape and meaning, in joining in that first act of creation until we’re finally rejoined to that first Word? What possible injustice is there for us to claim?
When we focus on our selves, our wounded pride, our anger over injustice, our rights, we may miss the real possibility hiding underneath.
Most everyone out there is sound asleep. We must wake them up. We have to point it out with every chance we get. “Do you see? Can you feel? Will you hear?” And maybe then they will transform too.
Imagine the excitement you could spread today, an excitement for the hidden beauty beneath the most ordinary rocks. Search for it and once you see it, don’t let anything keep you from rushing to share it.
Next time, reflections on story and structure, the deep romance and finding beauty for the journey….