As long as I’ve been paying attention, it seems like Christian duty has basically been explained as a matter of figuring out God’s will and then doing it without complaining. In theory, it isn’t complicated. Real life is something else entirely. The inclination of lingering long in the figuring-out stage is strong in me. Anything to stall that first step into actual commitment.
Then I read a line by Makoto Fujimura, in which he equates goodness with the beauty of God. Quite honestly, it blew me away. I was stopped still by the thought of Christian duty, or God’s will, as adding beauty to the world. So proposed, the figuring-it-out stage is a mere pause between one joyful project and the next. If making a pie and delivering flowers count as Christian duty I’m all in, starting now. Daisy backpacks for school kids and new houses for immigrants? Yes, please!
Food: that beauty we can smell and taste. Art: that ancient human endeavor to reveal the truth that lies just beyond our seeing and hearing. In music and stories, paintings and movies, sculpture and dance, science and even athletics, in glimpses of light and snatches of sound the goodness of God is ministered to us by artists and apprentices alike, all of them revealing the beauty set loose among us by the Creator of it – not merely for our pleasure but for our salvation, which was and remains God’s will for humanity. In Christ we have been saved, rescued, from The Worst humans do to one another. From misery. From evil. From death. From lives lived only and ever tuned to the sight and sound of trauma or grief. The world needs little help picking up that melody.
We follow Jesus when we add the beautiful, whenever and wherever we find it lacking. And no addition is too small to count as faithful. Smiles count. Opening doors for strangers counts. So do money in a beggar’s cup and a kind response to insult. It’s not so very complicated after all. I pray this rainy day finds you busy adding beauty wherever you find yourself.