Jan 17, 2010

Sunday Soaking - Wait... I thought He was not much to look at

What is beauty? According to Merrim-Webster online, beauty is defined as: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit, a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality.  When I Googled "beautiful images", I got a collaboration of images from nature and people. This one was the second image:

 The Bible says something specific about beauty that women should have:
1 Peter 3:3-4 (New International Version)
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
As a child, I can remember a Sunday School teacher explaining that Jesus was a pretty plain looking guy. I have often thought about that when I look at paintings that depict a light skinned Jesus with soft, flowing hair and clean white robes.

 All of the Jesus pictures in this blog are from http://picturesofjesus4you.com/slideview_do.html

I mean, it doesn't make sense that he would be especially attractive, he's basically homeless, traveling by foot from city to city in sandals. He didn't have access to running water, shampoo and conditioner or deodorant. He would be sun-hardened from being out in the elements all the time, and his clothes would be filthy. In fact, if I met him today, I would probably not even look at him, because isn't that how we treat homeless people?

He would probably look like this: (maybe a little less gray?)

Of course, other than those pictures of Jesus above, when I think of Jesus, I often think of Jesus with the little children (perhaps because it was on my Sunday school wall?)

Though this picture depicts the same clean, antiseptic Jesus, it also reveals the true beauty of Jesus.  This reveals his love and compassion.  As an adult, I still picture Jesus as a loving guy who might stink, but the love, mercy and compassion coming out of him is so overwhelming that I would want to just sit and talk to him. (Though the image of Jesus as a stinky certainly does explain why people kept putting perfume on his feet and head... JS).

The Psalmist certainly had the same idea of God...
Psalm 27:4 (New International Version)
4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
I am a nature lover.  I can sit and stare at a piece of God's creation like I can sit and stare at a masterpiece that some great painter painted.  I never get tired of how infinitely creative God must be!  Look at the colors of a sunset, how the isn't one that has ever been exactly like the one before.  Consider the majesty of Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, carefully carved by God's hand through thousands of years of water and ice.

When I consider the creative momentum it would take to not just create the smallest things, but all the way up to stars and planets, I am in awe of the creative power of God. 

We can never forget that creation is merely a shadow of  the Creator.  That the beauty of God is barely touched by what we see when we view something that is beautiful to us.  As a mother, I at times look at my children and feel overwhelmed by the love I feel for them.  That love translates into the feeling that they are the most beautiful/handsome little people that ever walked the earth. 

Do you think God feels that way about us?  That through the lens of His love, perhaps when He looks at us, He sees beauty and proudly displays us in His wallet and on His fridge?  I pray that I can see the rest of the world through that lens, that I can understand that God views each of us, His creations, as precious and dearly loved.  That I can treat others like they were created by the great Creator, instead of treating them like red-headed stepchildren.

What about you?

This post was inspired by Chapter 3 of Organic God by Margaret Steinberg.
Just me, AJ


  1. This was just beautiful. Whenever I'm outside and see the beauty of nature, I do marvel at the majesty of God and what he's given us.

    And now that you mention it, he was probably a rather unpleasant looking and smelling man. I always disagreed with the way he's been depicted, but I never thought he might stink! lol

  2. Great job mama! Jesus sees all of His chidren with so much love and grace. I hope to look at everyone with love, even the ones we see as less than. Thanks for the reminder of His love and mercy!

  3. When I think of the intricacies of DNA I am so amazed at God's power and creative hand. Or the fact that the universe never ends. It never ends!! The fact that my little human brain can't comprehend that always leaves me in awe of God's awesomeness. :o)

  4. Personally, I'm a firm believer in the saying 'beauty is on the inside' because I've seen beautiful girls become very much disliked due to their own ... meaness? conceitfulness? That type of thing, I believe treat others as you would WANT to be treated, (not how they DO treat you) & to follow Christs example of pure forgiveness. Theres no other way.

    btw - I'm here from Friday Follow. I'm late, I know - long, long LONG story!

  5. This is an absolutely lovely post!

  6. Awesome:

    I once preached a sermon with the point "Jesus was ugly"..which is a pretty straight way to translate
    Isaiah 53:2:

    "He had ++absolutely no beauty++
    or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him"

  7. I always disagreed with the way he's been depicted, but I never thought he might stink!

    Work from home India


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