The Pastor's Peace - September, 2013
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On my recent trip to coastal Maine to attend my brother-in-law’s wedding, I was constantly impressed and amazed at how beautiful the scenery was there. Amelia and I drove up US 1 along the coast and passed through cute small town after small town, drove along beautiful harbors, and watched views of tranquil coastal islands pass by our windows. Of course I was impressed, and understood immediately why people flocked to Maine in the summer and why it is called vacationland. I have to admit I was even a bit jealous as I thought about the views back home and wondered if there were any that could compare to what I was witnessing. The Miami Valley is beautiful, but was it really that beautiful? Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, and I think this is truer than we realize.

I remember when I was once on a spiritual retreat and did a several-day fast. My body slowed down, my mind slowed down, everything slowed down. I was always at the back of my group when we walked places, always the last to get up, and always the person to stare and think the longest about anything around me at any given moment. I remember one of the remarkable things during those several days was how much more I noticed the beauty around me.

Towards the end I remember seeing several folds in an old carpet and thinking
how beautiful they were. That experience taught me several things, but most importantly it taught me about the beauty of God’s creation, all of God’s creation. When we read the book of Genesis and see that God created all, and that it was “good”, we sometimes fail to really understand that. We, of course, see coastal Maine and can easily understand such beauty coming from God, but in reality all landscapes and everything are from God. Is everything therefore beautiful?
When I think of the many ways the ministry and life of Jesus inspired and affected those around him, I think one way he was different was his eye for beauty. So many times the disciples would fail to see the beauty of God in others, and yet Jesus always saw people as the children of God that they were. No matter if the person had a disease, was poor, had some hated profession, Jesus saw their beauty regardless. Sometimes this baffled the disciples and those around him, as it sometimes baffles us today.

As we work together to walk as a community in the footsteps of Christ, perhaps we should try as he did to take stock of the scenery around us. Perhaps we should try to see the beauty of the world that constantly surrounds us no matter where we are. If we can glimpse that a little more often, we just might see the beauty within ourselves and the beauty of God that is within everything around us.

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Brian