Remembering Beautiful Things

14 May

music notes

I occasionally get the compulsion to listen to some classical music. There is something different, and beautiful, about classical music.  And as I listened to Handel’s “Worthy Is The Lamb Who Was Slain”, it occurred to me that we need to intentionally take time out to remember and relish the beautiful.

I think its important that we set aside time for beauty–whether it be a sunrise, the mountains, the ocean, flowers, birds, our spouse, our children–because doing so reminds us that we love and serve a God of beauty.  We need to take time to remember the most beautiful thing of all: The Gospel.  Time and again, the New Testament writers urge us to remember Christ, His sacrificial, atoning work on our behalf, and look to the amazing implications that come as a result thereof:

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.”
-1 Corinthians 15:1-2

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel.”
-2 Timothy 2:8

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
-Hebrews 10:23

“I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.”
-2 Peter 3:1-2

Just like the classical music I listen to, the Gospel engages our minds with questions of what Christ has accomplished, the magnitude of our sin, the greatness of the love of God, and the future Kingdom to come at Christ’s return.  And, again like the music, the Gospel engages the emotions, provoking a wide range of feelings in response to the riches of God’s grace in Christ Jesus.

The reason this is so important is because remembering beauty, and especially the beauty of the Gospel, has a direct influence on our thoughts, words and deeds.  If we fail to take time to intentionally remember, and reflect upon, the beauty of the Gospel, our hearts and minds can quickly be enveloped by those things which are ugly.

At a recent conference for pastors, I had the privilege of listening to Dr. Bryan Chapell.  One of the things he said that has stuck with me was, “If you cannot forgive, you will see your anger turn to bitterness, and bitterness is an acid that burns through its container.”

Reflecting on this comment, I can’t help but see how this is directly related to the Gospel.  Forgiveness stems from reflecting on (or remembering) the Gospel, whereas corrosive bitterness stems from a fascination with (or emphasis upon) the ugliness of sin (whether that of another person, or our own unwillingness to forgive).  As Ephesians 4: 32 states, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (emphasis mine)”

And not only this, but our reflecting upon, and remembering, the Gospel, affects all of life.  It plays out in church life, small groups, our communities, work, family, friends, service, and on and on.  The practical implications abound.

So my challenge is for all of us to take the time to remember beauty in its many forms, and to reflect upon the beauty of the Gospel, specifically.  In this way, we will not become numb to these glorious aspects of God’s grace to us, but rather, be filled up and prepared to glorify God in all facets of life.


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