I long for beauty. How can my heart ache for something so frivolous, so unnecessary? Isn’t it selfish to want the icing on the cake when so many are starving for bread?
But what if beauty isn’t unnecessary? What if beauty reveals something desperately true about humanity, and about God?
Our God could have made a world of bread and water, of pragmatic production, of sufficiency.
But he created the possibility of chocolate, a riotous spectrum of colour, laughter and fiddle music.
We could have made do with walking, one foot in front of the other, single file please. Get the job done. But he gave us dancing. He made us for dancing. He made us for joy.
He made us to thrill at the first explosion of spring yellow – a daffodil. He made us to gaze at pigment skillfully stroked onto canvas. He made us to relish the wordplay of a master storyteller. He made us to sigh at pretty things all in a row. He made us to be captivated by that particular shade of blue in a baby’s eye.
Are these unnecessary? Well, yes. But they are not any less important for their seeming superfluity. They reveal a God who delights in abundance, in giving freely and joyously, in a cup overflowing.
Beauty matters because it catches the glint of heaven and reflects it back to us. Beauty matters because it is the laughter of God.
So when we give bread, which we must do, can we also not give wine? When we give blankets, which we must do, can we also not give a lullaby? When we give shelter, which we must do, can we also not give a sanctuary?
We are meant to do more than the necessary, more than the sufficient. We are made for beauty.