My wife, Amy, and I try to take Mondays off together. It’s our only time without kids but with each other and few job demands looking over us. Yesterday after lunch on the east side of Portland, we decided to check out the famous Rose Gardens near Washington Park. We had heard a lot about them but nothing really prepares you for the magnitude and richness of beauty and a place where hundreds of thousands of roses of every style and color are blooming, all at the same time.
I tend to be pretty sensitive when it comes to sensory input anyway, but after about 45 minutes of looking up close at various flowers and taking in their aroma, I actually had to sit down to give my senses a rest. After decompressing and dozing in the sun for a while, we spent another hour walking along the other side of the gardens. Toward the end of our walk, a came upon this particular flower that struck me both because of its color, but more important, because of the particularly elegant structure of the pedals at the center.
I shared this photo on Facebook, and to a person, people were fairly in awe. I titled the post “nature’s elegant geometry, ” which I also used as the title for this post. One of my friends noted the invocation of Fibonacci but the flowers structure pointed to. And though I see this too, and in fact, I noted much the same thing Amy at the time, I also mentioned to her that I most certainly see God in this simple design.
No, I don’t think Jesus magically made this flower look this way so I would come along on my day off and see it as God’s little love letter to one of his stumbling faithful. Although I am deeply grateful for our capacity to encounter and appreciate beauty on so many levels, I personally feel that such beauty is a fundamental insistence of nature itself. It is an expression of a material reality whose inspiration begins with love. Such beauty can’t help itself, and when we encounter it, neither can we. If we are open to it, if we allow ourselves to be, we are taken in by it, seduced and even a little bit overwhelmed.
In spite of all this, I still recognize that seeing God in this little thing is a choice. Some will look at it and see a happy but pleasant coincidence of nature. Some will look at it and see the hand of a Master Designer, reaching out to the rest of its creation. Some may see an allergy attack waiting to happen or an unpleasant attractant for bees. We see what we choose to see, and we conclude what we choose to conclude. But I do believe, without any doubt, that if we avail ourselves to it, such beauty touches us and resonates at levels we cannot explain with words or rational thought.
If the coming kingdom of God or if heaven has any such inclinations, and if it possesses within it the power to strip away those things that hold us back from experiencing such beauty at its greatest and richest depths, I can hardly wait.
Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004.He is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. Christian published a memoir on faith, family and parenting in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date. Visit www.christianpiatt.com, or find him on Twitter or Facebook.
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