Winter TreeSince my wife Judy’s death, I am attracted to beauty in all its forms–beautiful music, art, literature, scenes of nature. I’ve attended more concerts in the past two months than I have in the past two years. On daily walks, I notice subtle changes of the seasons that I would have missed before. This keen hunger for beauty seems to be more than idle contemplation or a sublimation of grief. I have come to realize that beautiful things connect me with the eternal purpose of God.

Bishop N.T. Wright warns me not to jump to the conclusion that beautiful things are God, or that admiring beauty is a way of worshiping God (Simply Christian, chap. 4). As the familiar hymn says, “All things bright and beautiful…the Lord God made them.” There is a vast difference between the divine Maker and things divinely made, even more between God and things beautifully fashioned by human artists.

Yet I am drawn to beauty, even more since the loss of my wife. Why is this? Here Wright is helpful again. He writes:

The beauty we glimpse in creation can best be understood as one part of a larger whole, and…the larger whole is what will be accomplished when God renews heaven and earth…(p. 234)

Wright would say that I enjoy beautiful things because they provide a glimpse of God’s restored and completed Creation. A piano concerto by Sabelius does that; so does a storm painting by Winslow Homer; so did my beautiful life partner.