Don’t miss the beauty, and the holiness, and the joy

while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy…

Job 38:7
– writer/theologian Derek Maul

First, thanks to those who expressed interest in yesterday’s post about teaching (How I got to be a school teacher). There will be many stories to come.

But for today – Sunday – I want to return to a thread that has run through much of my writing over the past couple of years. It’s the idea that beauty and joy lead us to God, especially the kind that is so profound it almost hurts.

What calls to us when we experience beauty and joy (music, landscape, art, relationships, people…) is something deep and ineffably true, something almost like a beacon, a signal that we are closer to home.

I am currently reading a book by novelist, theologian, philosopher, preacher Frederick Buechner called The Longing for Home. He writes about home both as something remembered and something that we look forward to.

In one chapter Buechner shares about experiencing beauty and joy all together and how tears fill his eyes. In discussing it he suggests that joy – and I’m not sure that we can separate joy and beauty – is our natural state of being as humans. Joy is what we were created for.

“We shed tears,” he writes, “because we had caught a glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom, and it had almost broken our hearts. For a few moments we had seen Eden and been part of the great dance that goes on at the heart of creation. We shed tears because we were given a glimpse of the way life was created to be and is not….

This world is full of darkness, Buechner suggests, yet sometimes we get to see beyond that and into the possibilities of what can be – what God intended creation to be.

I believe he is right. And I believe, in a larger sense, experiencing joy brings tears to our eyes because joy is a lot like coming home.

I’ll stop writing now because it’s time to head in to church. Church often holds the same emotions and experiences; beauty, joy, and tears. A good church is a lot like coming home.

In love and because love is the source of joy – DEREK

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