By Jamie Harms
Summer is a time for adventure! Whether that is a hike up Spencer’s Butte on a sunny day, splashing in the waves along the Oregon Coast, or travelling to a far away place, anything that breaks us out of our normal routine counts as an adventure and opens up our eyes to things in the world around us we might not have seen before. I had the opportunity this summer to go on one such adventure, traveling to England with my family as my husband attended a conference.
One of my highlights was at Westminster Abbey, where I sat near one of the rose windows with light pouring through it. The light cast brilliant colors to the floor below as the choir and organ music flooded the space in such a way that you could feel it to your core. The architecture and detail in every little stone and structure was amazing, and what I had not known from pictures beforehand was that under my feet, in the walls, and in the massive shines of this sanctuary space lay the bodies of saints and sinners of all walks of life — kings, queens, musicians, scientists, authors, husbands, wives, and children. So much life, so much history played out inside those walls, and I sat in reverence and awe of even being in such a space.
Westminster Rose Window from the Westminster website
In Psalms 27, as the psalmist David seeks the Lord in His temple, he expresses his desire to dwell in the house of the Lord, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. I don’t know how Westminster compares to the temple, but I can imagine from the descriptions in Scripture that the temple was awe inspiring. It was not filled with the dead like Westminster, but with the living God in whom we have our hope. The marble and gold and intricate designs on the holy implements, the music and worship, the Scripture readings would overwhelm the senses with the magnitude and beauty of the One who dwelt there. No wonder that is where David wanted to be! When enemies chased him and the burdens of life crushed him, David wanted to be with his God. That is where his hope and peace came from, not from circumstances and the world around him. David’s hope was in a person — his God — and was reminded of that hope by gazing on His beauty.
How often do we stop and gaze at the beauty of the Lord? Life can be overwhelming with the routine of daily life and depressing news headlines, but we are to remember our Living Hope. I know that I can easily slip into feelings of despair and hopelessness, and I need the reminder to gaze upon the beauty of my God. Yes, I can be overwhelmed by the beauty in a place like Westminster, but we can see His beauty all around us in His creation. We can stop and watch the fire-hued colors of the sunset, listen to a babbling brook, enjoy fresh cut wildflowers on the table, savor ripe, warm strawberries from the garden, enjoy the harmonies of symphony, relish in the laughter of family and friends, rest in the pages of Scripture and the reminder of our God’s love and faithfulness, and so much more. Just like David, when we spend time gazing upon the beauty of our God, we too will have confidence that we will see His goodness in the land of the living. May we each take time to gaze on His beauty and cling to Him as our hope as we walk with Him today.