Beauty may seem an unlikely place to begin this summer series on the Gifts of the Garden. A flower garden might exist for beauty. But as we focused on sharing the Green Team’s work of the Food Pantry Garden, likely our first term would be “produce,” on production, on the fruits that feed. We can’t quantify beauty, but can measure poundage. As long as the food fills bellies, would clients at the Lussier Center or Middleton Outreach Ministry really care whether their vegetables were beautiful?
And yet beauty matters to God. And in God’s eye, it’s an abundant beauty. There’s too much sense in our culture (and too much even as I was searching the Bible) that beauty applies to a very specific appearance and almost always to women.
But God sees you and all that sprouts in the spring as beautiful, as glorious as wedding garb. God clothes wildflowers and lilies in splendor, so we should pause to consider them (and you’ll have a chance to stroll amid the prairies and the Easter lilies re-blooming on the other side of the building). Jesus starts us with a focus not on our hard work and dirty hands, but on beauty as the lavish gift of God.
Let me tell you how joyful God has made me! For God has clothed me with garments of salvation and draped about me the robe of righteousness. I am like a groom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. Just as the earth brings forth buds, and as a garden in spring has young plants springing up everywhere, so the Lord GOD will show justice and praise springing up across the world. Isaiah 61:10-11, adapted from the Living Bible
Jesus said, “Why worry about clothes? Look how the lilies and wildflowers grow. They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that King Solomon with all his power and riches wasn’t as well clothed as one of them. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields.”
Matthew 6: 28-30a, adapted from the Contemporary English Version