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Natural Beauty

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

If you have never been, I encourage you to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a place of beauty. Gardner loved art, and beginning in the 1890s, traveled to Europe and Asia to accumulate her marvelous collection. She also desired to create a showplace where others could enjoy the ojets d' art. The building must complement and augment the viewer's experience of the pieces. In 1899, she worked with architect Willard T. Sears to design the Venetian palace that graces the Back Bay. The interior is filled with a courtyard lush with fresh flowers and plants for each season; the steps and pillars are smooth and variegated marble, the wallpaper of each room rich and vibrant, and every nook and cranny contains intricate carvings. While it might not rival John's vision of Heaven, it's a little slice here on Earth.

While Stewart and Sears created a place of manufactured beauty filled with beautifully crafted things, it doesn't come close to what God has done. He is the architect and creator of the natural beauty of our bodies. Pause momentarily and think about everything we take for granted that allows us to read this devotion. Our brain sends the signals to our fingers to open today's message; our eyes enable us to read and send the text back to our brain to decipher its meaning and place it into context. The intricacy and beauty by which we are made are living witness to God's glory.

We may look at ourselves judging by humankind's idea of beauty. Our eyes are too far apart, our chin too weak, or our nose too big. But this is not the standard of beauty; true beauty is in recognizing how "fearfully and wonderfully" we are made. While imperfect by human standards, we are beautiful because God created us, knows us intimately, and loves us deeply.

God, we thank you for our bodies, one of your many works of art. You have given us ears to listen, eyes to see, mouths to speak, legs and feet to walk, arms and hands to do, and a brain to coordinate, reason, and create. You saw us before we were "made in the secret place" and know the number of our days. You care for us physically, inwardly, outwardly, and, more importantly, spiritually. In Jesus, you graced us with salvation, and by the Holy Spirit, we learn to use our bodies to glorify you. The Holy Spirit opens our ears for listening to your Word and each other, our eyes are opened to the hurt of the world, our mouths to offer sympathy and encouragement, our legs and feet to carry the gospel, our hands for doing, and our heads to rule our hearts. Use us today to do your will. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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