This morning at church i was very aware of the fact that i can't sing in tune! I was thinking about how amazing it is that it doesn't actually matter to God whether or not my singing is in tune or not, cos it's our hearts that matter. I was thinking how glad i am that God may still delight in my singing, even if it's awfully out of tune and actually very ugly and horrible to everyone else! It got me thinking again about how topsy turvey things are in the kingdom of God. How we can do things that may appear very ugly to other people, things which have no worldly beauty, but are infact beautiful to God.
The clearest example is Jesus dying on the cross. If you were there at the time you would never have called it beautiful. If you had of thought it was beautiful then you would have probably been slightly disturbed in the head! How can it be beautiful to watch the Son of God being scoffed at and mocked and having thorns stuck on His head, to see Him whipped and beaten and hung on a cross, to watch Him breathing in agony as His body gave way, and to see the nails tearing through His hands and feet. That is not naturally beautiful. That is horrific. But somehow now it has become beautiful, because of all that has come from it. It is beautiful because He did it for us, to rescue us and save us. It is beautiful because He went on to rise again and conquer death and sin. It is beautiful because He was a King, yet was prepared to walk humbly as a man, just for the joy of seeing those He saved.
I was thinking again how we often have to do things, or live in ways, that appear unsightly or ugly to others, but are actually beautiful and pleasing to God. It's all upside down. When i wrote previously about how easy it is to ignore beauty... i was talking about this kind of real beauty too, not just shallow, pretentious beauty.
I was thinking too about how much i like to see life and joy and love and beauty in places where you don't normally see it. For example, the picture i have included (by Martha Cooper) shows a kid on a run-down estate doing somersaults on a dirty old broken mattress. He seems to be having fun just there, amongst all the rubbish.
"A sound of gentle stillness stirred and said, "My child, be comforted, Dear is the offering of melody, But dearer far - love's lowliest ministry." - Amy Carmichael