I took the opening devotional for my class this morning.
I wanted to try and pull in some of the themes we’ve explored throughout these last few days. I hoped to give people a little bit of space to just apply our learning in a creative way. But as I sat down last night to pray through what I was going to share, God reminded me of a phrase I’d read in an article by Benjamin Nolot a little while ago and I just couldn’t shake it out of my brain…
Prophets of beauty.
Prophets… of… beauty.
Think about it. Wow.
As an intercessor I daily consider the pain of the world. I reach out to the throne of God through my prayers. I reach out to the broken through my actions. I join with others in community. I fast. I weep. I plead with Holy Spirit to intervene in situations that are just-too-big-for-me and to move in our world.
And sometimes I am overwhelmed.
But, last night I was reminded that while heaven weeps, heaven also rejoices.
That just as God shares our pain, He also brings restoration and beauty for ashes.
That just as the pain of the world, and the pain of individuals should move me to my knees; so my faith in God’s ability to restore laughter, and dreams, and dancing, and wholeness, should cause me to rise again.
When we look out at the world, it’s all-too-easy to be a prophet of doom. To see just the pain. Just the suffering. Just the injustice. To feel overwhelmed by the depth of the darkness.
But we are called to be prophets of beauty.
Prophets of beauty.
Because I can’t put it any better, here’s a quote from the original article:
Jesus was a prophet of beauty.
Rather than find curious fascination in untimely death, He raised the dead. Rather than bemoan the plight of the hungry, He multiplied food for them. Rather than relegate issues of social justice to human rights organisations, He healed the broken hearted, set the captives free, and delivered all who were oppressed by the devil. In the hour of His greatest crisis, when He may have been tempted to turn cynical, to curse rather than bless, He cried out, ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do’ (Luke 23 v 34). He pointed the way home for all of humanity. Yes, He wept, but He also hoped, believed and called forth beauty in the midst of darkness. The power of Jesus’ life wasn’t that He had a positive outlook, but that He embraced the suffering, absorbed the full scope of human aggression, and shouldered the full penalty due that dark tendency, so that now He can stand triumphantly and call a fractured world out of sin and decay into the glory of His Father, the beautiful God, thus making ‘all things new’ (Revelation 21 v 5, 2 Corinthians 5 v 17).
Papa, make me a prophet of beauty.
One who literally speaks Your words, and Your will, and Your heart, and Your beauty into the atmosphere of a world that is so incredibly desperate for the hope of Your Truth.
Change my heart.
Teach me how.
To be a prophet of beauty means to be motivated by Beauty.
To first and foremost, see Beauty.
When we are interceding for and working in the dark-darkness-places of the planet, it can be easy to let our gaze drift and become fixed on the wrong things.
But I am not called to be fascinated by darkness; I am called to overcome it.
I am not called to exploit this world; I am called to be part of the just-God-ordained solution.
I am not called to be sustained by human zeal, a feeling of heroism, my own good intentions or some self righteous behaviour; but by being rooted and fascinated with the Beauty of the Beautiful God.
I long to be founded and grounded in the reality that He can love me more in a moment than any other lovers could in a lifetime. And to be sustained by right things.
As Psalm 90 v 17 says, ‘Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish the work of our hands for us, yes, establish the work of our hands.’
The Gospel beautifies.