In this flashmob organized in Sabadell, Spain an unsuspecting courtyard is bombarded with beauty as an orchestra slowly materializes out of thin air with a majestic rendition of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. It is moving and powerful. A crowd develops around the musicians realizing they are beholding something rare and beautiful. Children are dancing, adults are swaying, everyone is captivated by the beauty of the moment. Time stands still.
In the middle of busy schedules why did these people stop to listen? I believe it is rooted in our innate yearning for beauty. John Piper describes this desire that is in every person.
“I do believe that deeply rooted in every human heart is a longing for beauty. Why do we go to the Grand Canyon, the Boundary Waters, art exhibits, gardens? Why do we plant trees and flower beds? Why do we paint our inside walls? Why is it man and not the monkeys who decorated cave walls with pictures? Why is it that in every tribe of humans ever known there has always been some form of art and craftsmanship that goes beyond mere utility? Is it not because we long to behold and be a part of beauty? We crave to be moved by some rare glimpse of greatness. We yearn for a vision of glory.”
We long for something bigger than ourselves. Whether that is in the arts, nature, or daily life, when we catch a glimpse of it we stop in wonder. We realize there is more to this life than what we can see. We seek out beauty because we are created to have a relationship with the Author of beauty. Because of image of God imprinted in us, all humanity has a void in our souls that resonates with true beauty. This resonation of beauty lures us to its source. When we behold beauty it acts like a compass. It points us beyond the momentary glimpse of beauty to the source of all beauty. The compass does not show us our destination, it is just a guide. It keeps us grounded in reality, understanding where we are in this world. The sunset and the orchestra in themselves leave us wanting. They are not the destination. While they are beautiful for a moment, we desire more than these things can offer.
“And we can know that our desires are remnants of this urge for God because everything less than God leaves us unsatisfied. He alone is the All-Satisfying Object of Beauty. Only one vision will be sufficient for our insatiable hearts—the glory of God. For that we have been made. And it is for this we long, whether we know it or not.” -John Piper: Jesus is Precious because We Yearn for Beauty. (both quotes)
When you and I encounter moments that take our breath away, whether a sunset or a work of Beethoven, let it remind us that, yes, there are amazingly beautiful things in this world, but they are mere shadows of the true beauty that is God Himself. How do we get to know God? Through His Son – Jesus Christ.
Your fellow worker in the field, Adam