[Rector]

Beauty

 

Do you remember the BBC series "A Peculiar Practice"? It went to air some time back. Dr. Jock McCallum from the series made the comment, "It's a beautiful world, you just have to look at it in the right way". How true, but then Jock did tend to resort to an alcoholic haze to help hide the rough corners.

Seeing things with the eye of beauty. It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If that's true then we can't really say the world is beautiful. All we can say is that we see it that way. One of the most commonly used arguments for God's hand in the creation is that we are supposed to be able to see it. The line runs this way: "When I look at everything about me it radiates with beauty and order - I see design. Such a marvelous thing of necessity demands a designer." The trouble is many people don't see it that way. When they look at nature they see only the raw struggle for survival - of life eating life, of everything living off everything else. Bird calls around the garden fountain sound beautiful to the ear, but the conversation is restricted to three basic calls. "Come up and see me some time", "Where's me misses?" "Buzz off, this is my pad". All fairly basic to the survival of the species and mirrored with only a little more sophistication in the human race. Beautiful? Well, it's a matter of opinion. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Life can look quite ugly. When we were running around in animal skins chasing a Mastodon for tea, we probably didn't have time to reflect on the beauty or otherwise of life. All our nervous energy, genetically programmed for our survival, was expended on planning the next meal. Now, nurtured in the urban consumer society, we have little to expend our energy on, other than reflection. And reflect we do. Most of the time we reflect ourselves into a psychotic state. Bird calls at the office, or as they are better known, pecking-order games. Hormonals - girls getting crabby and the blokes getting morose. Child raring games - "I've got my baby now, so buzz off". Mid life crisis, life changes, menopause (or personopause if you're into non-sexist language), and so it goes on. Chasing that Mastodon gave us no time to get neurotic about the "angles" of life. Then it was just survive. Today we have the time to get nervy when the juices flow, and it can all seem so ugly.

Was Jock right? Is this a beautiful world, but to see its beauty we must look at it in the right way? Or is the creation valueless, having no truth or beauty of itself such that beauty is but a creation of our own mind? The great poets of the Bible agree with Jock. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork."