When you come to the prairie for the first time, you notice the sky. Admittedly, that’s not the first thing you notice; first, you simply cannot believe how flat is the earth, how sparse are the trees, how relentless the wind, and how absent is green.
And then you look up. And you realize you were wrong about the dominant color of the landscape being brown because you have never encountered so much blue in your life. This is a pure blue… on a clear day it stretches all over the place, everywhere. It is relentless. So much that it hurts.
When I first drank in the powerful beauty of this sky, I couldn’t stop looking at it. It was immense. It made my eyes ache; all the ‘blue sensors’ were on immediate overload. So I had to look away. Still, it was visually intoxicating. Look at it… too beautiful… look away. Could we capture it, I wondered, this blue that is painfully pure? Have we ever been able to replicate this? in t-shirts or Martha Stewart paints or something?
Recently I realized that this is often my response to something with great beauty that can only be attributed to God’s work. I want to capture it somehow, or I want to turn away. Take a picture, record the moment, or escape. A tremendously moving experience in corporate worship will leave me desperate to replicate it, or in a hurry to shake it off as quickly as possible. A moment of emotion over the beauty of a redemptive story… I want to figure out how to bring it to my church or I hide and move through the emotion as quickly as possible.
There is no basking. Apparently, I am not a natural ‘basker’.
All these things– a blue sky, the mystery of worship, the power of redemption– are God-created, and we simply cannot replicate them. So I wonder… is my response the normal human reaction? I want to capture this thing, this moment, but I can’t, and I also can’t withstand the purity of it, so I turn away. It’s a burning bush thing. It’s a holiness thing.
Beauty. Holiness. What is your response?