When we think of the word beauty we often go first for looks – what is beautiful to our eyes. The beautiful person who dazzles us. The sparkly shoes that glimmer in the corner of my living room. The building that we walk into and makes us go ‘wow!’. Beauty is standing on the top of the hill and seeing creation unfold before you. It’s looking at the trees and seeing how they grow. It's in Mathematics – the completion of equations, the way everything holds together.
But beauty is not only about looks. There is a more holistic feeling to beauty. Beauty is something about something or someone that provides an experience beyond what we might comprehend. I was watched the secret life of babies last week which talked about how we are naturally wired to look into a babies face and be attracted to who they are and want to care for them – want them to be part of our lives. The experience of beauty talks about balance and harmony – leading to feelings of attractiveness and well-being.
One of the words in NT Greek translated beauty is ὡραῖος which talks of something that is seen just at the right moment - of ripeness - a fruit being there at the right time and being just the right sweetness.
What makes humans beautiful as individuals and as community is that we are made in the image of God – who we are – not in looks but in existence should reflect the loving, mighty and awesome God who we worship. As we are made in the image of God our values and the way we behave as a community become more important. To be truly beautiful we need to follow Christ’s example – who is the true and complete image of God.
A community that is made in the image of God should be a community that brings the hope of Jesus. If a community speaks of living as beauty it speaks of being incarnational – of bringing the light of Jesus wherever it is. A community that continually seeks to do this becomes attractive because it speaks more and more of Jesus. Jesus attracted people because he was a walking, talking embodiment of God’s love.
In the words of some band called One Direction (no I am not a fan) what makes you beautiful is that you light up my life like nobody else.
Or, even better, in 2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!"
What makes us beautiful is Christ - who is the light of the world.