Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.Matthew 9:20-21, 1 Corinthians 13:12
This should be a really good “Photo Friday.” Especially in light of a continuing conversation I’m having with a preacher friend around the idea of our “National Soul.”
As a reminder, I had expressed concern that our nation is experiencing “soul trouble.” You can read more about this in A Prayer for America.
My friend pointed out how people seem to be good at feeling morals and emotions deeply, but not so good when it comes to kindness, sympathy, and the appreciation of art and beauty.
To which I responded: “There is a tendency to promote moral outrage and emotion and eschew the other stuff. Even art (and education) can be relegated to the so-called “Elite” – as if appreciation of knowledge and beauty is an affront. But transcendence is good for everyone. So I would say that a loss of wonder is also part of our national soul problem.”
Hence one of the reasons for “Photo Friday.” This is a small part of my contribution to the conviction that art, and beauty, and transcendence are all very good for us. I can write deep thoughts and I publish books that celebrate and share the beauty of knowledge, but it is when images like these make us smile that we often more readily touch the edges of the potential for beauty.
It is like “touching the hem of Christ’s garment.” We poise on the brink of the possibility of transcendence, touching the hem of the truth of eternity, a beauty that would likely be too much for us if we got more than a handful!
Take these children, for example:
Beauty and more:
I could concentrate all of these thoughts around the grandchildren. But then there is the beauty that is bound up in the way we see each other, and experience the people we love. I have always believed people – all people – are beautiful.
A story that supports this idea is from when a cousin from England visited a couple of years ago. He really enjoyed attending church with us, and he said, “Your sanctuary at Wake Forest is one of the most beautiful I have seen.”
It’s not bad, I thought, but the church was not flush with funds when the campus was first built, and the space was not designed to be an architectural gem. But then I realized what had happened. Attendance was excellent that summer and the sanctuary was very full – full of beautiful people. So my cousin was right, it was possibly the most beautiful church he had ever worshipped in.
Same for Rebekah (pictured here in the light down jacket we purchased for her trip abroad next week, and – below – doing the glamor pose, modeling her new prescription sunglasses).
I believe it is likely true that the more someone is loved, the more beautiful they are. Not just being loved, but knowing how much we are loved! This of course makes Rebekah absolutely the most beautiful woman in the world.
I could, of course, fill this space up with dozens of new photos of the grandchildren, and that would be great. But instead we will have just the one more.
This is Geoffrey on the driveway in front of the house in Miami, full with enthusiasm for life and this boundless, tireless commitment to move forward into whatever the possibilities suggest.
Or, as Naomi often captions Geoffrey’s response:
- Naomi: “No,” “Come back here!” “I don’t think so, Geoffrey…,” and “that’s not safe.“
- Geoffrey: “Imma do it!!”
Photo Friday, always with a little bit of fun, and grandchild bragging, plus occasional theology, and – today, transcendent beauty.
Photo Friday is good for our National Soul – DEREK