“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Ps 19:1-2).
Beauty is its own language. It has its own parts of speech, its own tense, voice, mood. It speaks of the glory of God and is all but indistinguishable from the glory of God. But it also exists in its own realm and makes no concessions to ours. If we are too preoccupied, too harried, to catch the meanings, there is no interpreter standing by to relay the message a second time, no recording device that lets us come back to discover at our leisure what we missed earlier. It is fleeting.
Elusiveness is part of its power. Beauty is perishable, scarce. Think of Paul when he writes, “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship.” The basic sentence is: “God invisible qualities have been clearly seen.” What an odd thing to say, but certainly not true for everyone (which is to Paul’s point). There are obvious, glorious things all around us, and they are easily missed.
I find through the course of the year God’s invisible qualities become increasingly invisible. The understanding that radiates from his workmanship is slowly eroded by a thousand things. Summer, for us, has traditionally been a time of recovering hearing and sight. In a few days we leave to see my son Luke and his wife Bekah in the UK. We’re staying in a few favorite places and have tried to schedule enough time in each for things to slow down. Pray for us that we would see God’s invisible qualities. We will be praying the same for you!