Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beauty and Ugliness

Devotional for a spring day

Psalm 24:1-4 (NRSV)
1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
    the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
    and established it on the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
    And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
    who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
    and do not swear deceitfully.

I write this during one of those spectacular spring days with perfect temperatures and low humidity. As I crested a hill on my morning bicycle ride, I could see for miles in every direction—the marvelous beauty of the fresh green trees contrasted with the crystal-clear blue sky. I could smell freshly mown hay, and the wind on my face felt like a sweet caress. My heart sang in praise to my Maker as I experienced the beauty of His handiwork.

Yet, as my eyes returned to the road, everywhere I looked there was evidence of human invasion of this lush garden. Trash littered nearly every foot of the roadside; pop cans of every brand in plastic and aluminum, remnants of fast-food establishments, discarded newspapers and magazines. The contrast between the beauty and the ugliness could not have been starker.
Isn’t this contrast similar to our lives as Christians? On the one hand we are made in God’s image—reflecting the perfect beauty of His creation. On the other hand we have littered our souls with the trash of our human desires and wants—the ugliness of our sin. In order “ascend the mountain of the Lord,” we need to clean up the garbage of sin that obscures the beauty of what God wants us to be.  When we have completed the garbage disposal, we can “stand in his holy place” with “clean hands and a pure heart.”

O God, thank you for the beauty of your creation. Help us not to spoil with garbage either our environmental surroundings or the precious lives that you have given us.
Thought for the Day:
We only have one earth and one soul to take care of. Let’s treat them both with care.
Prayer Focus:
For greater care of all of God’s creation

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