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musings from linda 3/8/24

Question:  What would you say is the most beautiful thing in nature?  Impossible to answer — right?

Maybe your garden…!    But then what about the majesty of mountains?  Or the splendor of the ocean - or your favorite lake - or mountain stream… Or maybe the songs of birds?  Or sunrises — or sunsets… Or apple blossoms or a pine forest… Or? 


Renowned American poet Wallace Stevens (who, incidentally, also worked for a Hartford insurance company) answers the above question this way:


          “The most beautiful thing in the world, of course, is the world itself….” 


…the natural world, that is…

Because we know all too well the UGLINESS of the world in which we are so constantly immersed…

Just watch the news!  

Violence of all kinds…  corruption… wars… disease… prejudices of all kinds… crazy weather patterns… meannness… sorrow… un-truths of all kinds… mis-justice… anger… MORE anger…



Where to find an antidote? Where’s the hope?


One answer:    BEAUTY.


“The human soul is HUNGRY for beauty, “ asserts  the late theologian/philosopher John O’Donohue in his book BEAUTY, THE INVISIBLE EMBRACE. 

                And — “ it is because we have so disastrously neglected the Beautiful 

                that we now find ourselves in such a terrible crisis.” 


Technology is so wonderful in so many ways!  BUT is relentless in exposing us to the world’s evils  — ALL.  THE.  TIME.

The inevitable result is that the media becomes the “global mirror” too often reflecting just the ugliness as the norm,  leaving people ultimately  feeling stressed and sad … 


“Constant struggle leaves us tired and empty. Our struggle for reform needs to be tempered and balanced with a capacity for CELEBRATION! 

When we LOSE SIGHT OF BEAUTY our struggle becomes tired and functional. 


But — 


When we EXPECT - AND ENGAGE - THE BEAUTIFUL, a new fluency is set free — within us — and between us! 

The HEART BECOMES REKINDLED — and our lives brighten with unexpected courage; 

it is that COURAGE that restores hope to the heart…” 


Dostoevsky concurred when he stated: “BEAUTY WILL SAVE THE WORLD.”

It is:   “what inspires the best in us, our aspirations  for what is good and true, and what connects us to each other.”


Could it really be that simple?   To notice BEAUTY??    And to celebrate it???


Poet Mary Oliver says  “YES!!“ in her short poem “ Instructions For Living A Life…”  (be sure to read Pastor Heather’s reflection about this poem in this month’s newsletter)


                        Pay attention 

                                    Be astonished 

                                                  Tell about it 

Poets, authors, artists, photographers, composers “tell about it “ in every way they can!   Read  — look — listen — to your favorites — and often!  Immerse yourself in beauty every way YOU can!   Surround yourself with objects of beauty in your home… walk in the woods… dig in your garden…  stroll by the ocean… hike in the woods… take in the sunset every day… make time to smell the roses — AND the hyacinths AND the lilacs AND every other flower… Revel in the gifts of creation that are so available to all of  us! 


John Rutter, in this Sunday’s choral anthem LOOK AT THE WORLD expresses joy and awe at the blessings that surround us... (Click here to listen) 

Look at the world, everything all around us: 

Look at the world and marvel every day. 

Look at the world: so many joys and wonders

So many miracles along our way. 


Give us thankful hearts that we may see…

The state of your spirit reflects how much ugliness, bitterness or anger you allow to seep into it…  The state of your spirit reflects what you feed it.  Try giving it several doses of BEAUTY — every day — and see what happens. 


Then we will proclaim - along with Mary Oliver…


“So, it is not hard to understand where God’s body is,

It is everywhere and everything:  shore and vast fields of water, 

And I bow down… attentive …

Every morning I want to  kneel down on the golden cloth of sand and say some kind of musical thanks for the world that is happening again —  another day...“ 



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