Allow me to accent what I’d say is truly God’s promotion of the ugly!
Years ago I read a number of varied articles by wonderful and solid Christian authors discussing the arts.
They -rightly- mind you, focused on the beauty of God revealed in His creation and via people.
At the same time in Adam, Eve, Cain, Saul, even King David, Judas, Herod, Ananias and Sapphira, Hitler, and yes, you and I- we see sin, not only righteousness and holiness. We deal with greed, abuse and outright evil in our world and at times in every kind of Christian (or other) assembly of humans.
The fact is that God’s glory and truth do not only shine through beauty.
Is it not also true that God shows us His beauty through what we humans will solidly say are “ugly” things?
Consider the very cross of Jesus. Picture the snake in the beautiful garden, the bloodshed all through the Old Testament.
At core there is great value and purpose in the contrast between beauty and ugliness in our world.
Consider the Good News of Jesus without contrast to the bad news of our sinful nature and fallen world. Consider darkness vs. light.
Consider the majority of Psalms happen to be “laments” though packaged in a Book of praise and worship, God’s faithfulness, provision and His majesty revealed. So too in those lyrics, the depravity of humankind is displayed in full sail.
Think about thunder and lightning, both reflecting the power of God but also the possible destruction of hearing and at times, forest fires that burn while yet helping rehab that particular forest.
I would posit there are beautiful sides to ugly as well as what we humanly perceive as ugly sides to beauty.
Many believers have bought into “triumphalism” in our day as in past times. This is a notion that “everything is SWEET and only going to get SWEETER”. Mind in heaven… but feet on earth? Hmmmm.
Indeed, “in everything give thanks” but also “in the world you shall have tribulation”. Both are true. “Be of good cheer”… and “it also says”- “weep with those who weep.” At any point in time what seems ugly is that “weeping may tarry through the night”, but thank God, “joy comes in the morning.” All true. Both sides of it.
“We are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” AND “NOW [at present] we see darkly… THEN face-to-face.”
And so I call to us what I believe God calls me to: balance. We need to deal with ugly/hard and beautiful/easy things, both. Grace comes in both packages though it often doesn’t feel like it!
“There is a time to kill and a time to heal.”
It’s not either-or but a both/and deal.
No crucifixion, no resurrection. No Good Friday (“Good”? That ugly scene from the garden, betrayal, beatings and mockery clear to the cross to the grave?!! Yes… “Good”!) no Easter Sunday.
Things to consider as we at times face friction amongst ourselves.
Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn