I was looking today at a photograph from my daughter, Sarah, on”Facebook.” There she was with some friends from her church, Central church, Edinburgh, off to Calais to show the love of Christ in a situation of immense need that has been appearing on our TV screens almost daily. Just about every time I see her post a photograph my mind goes back to when I held her when she was first born. I simpy looked a this miracle of God and said, “Hello beautiful!” Her eyes vaguely focussed on the direction of my voice, her neck stretched upwards as she tried to somehow connect wth this sound, this person, that perhaps she was vaguely aware of in a muffled way from the womb.
Sometimes I wonder if I have ever been truer to the image of God than at that moment. When God made human beings, according to the story of the bible He looked at us and said, “Very good!” He knew all that would happen. He knew all about our welcoming sin and so on, but yet He still looked at what He had made and said, “Hello Beautiful.”
You may be aware of sin past, just as God was aware of sin still to come when He first made men and women. Can you believe that somehow He still looks at you and says, “Hello Beautiful!” ? Jesus shows what His father is like. I love the story of the disciples criticising a woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. He looked at them angrily, and said “Leave her alone, she has done a beautiful thing to me.” On another occasion when a woman came to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and dry them with her hair and anoint them with perfume, onlookers were only aware of her sinfuness. One of them, Simon, voiced his inner heart in these thoughts, “If this man Jesus were a prophet he would know what manner of woman this is, that she is a sinner!” Jesus knew what was in men and women. He knew the gracelessness of Simon’s heart, He knew this woman’s past, but He saw the beauty in what she was doing and points it out to Simon. Simon had given Jesus no proper hospitality, had not offered Him the kiss of welcome and friednship, but this woman had not stopped kissing Jesus’ feet. He saw in her the beauty of someone who was grateful that her sins had been forgiven and love had welcomed her and accepted her.
I note this blog is being followed by people in different countries, so forgive me if I write a word about Scottish spirituality. There is much that is good about it, in that we emphasize humility before God and an awarness of His sovereignty. I do wish American charismatics would stop trying to make us like American Christians. I am so tired of that!! (I could go into a rant, but I won’t, or at least I will save it for another time!!) Their culture, like ours, is flawed and not aways in line with God’s Kingdom. In fact as their Presidential elections draw near it is patently obvious that American evangelicalism is deeply flawed. We do need to see our own flaws. One of the flaws of Scottish Christianity is that we can almost glory in our sinfulness. For many Scots the height of Christianity is that we are a sinner saved by grace. But if that is the height of how I regard myself I think we dishonour the Father’s love, the sacrfice of Jesus at Calvary and the witness of the Hoy Spirit within us. God wants us to know that when He looks at us in Christ he says over us, “You are my Son, my daguther whom I love, you bring me great joy!”
According to my bible He celebrates and dances over His children with great rejoicing. I have never been more godly than when I rejoiced at the birth of my son and daughter. They did not have to do anything to earn my joy and my love towards them. It was simply there. Can you dare to believe that tonight there may be a sound of singing or dancing in heaven and one angel says to another, “What on earth – (or rather what in heaven) – is that?” Canyou believe that his angel companion could possibly say of you of and of me, or of someone whom you find it hard to get on with, “Of it is just his/her father. He is thinking of His chidren!”?
Max Lucado asks a question that I would ask of you. “What is the holiest moment of your day?” Is it when you read your bible and say your prayers, or when you do other thngs that good Christian people are meant to do? He says to all of that a resounding, “No.” The holiest moment of the day is when you wake up in the morning and stumbe through to the bathroom mirror with your hair matted, your pyjamas crumpled, with a breath that would stain the wall and a face that would scare a dog! What makes that moment so special is that this is the you that your Heavenly Father sees and loves. He is looking at a morning miracle!
What do you find yoursef saying to yourself as you look in the mirror? Can you dare to beleive that God would want you to say “Hello Beautiful!” As I look back I knew about all the dirty nappies, the sleepless nights still to come when Sarah and David were born, the joys and the pains of parenting still to come, but nothing took away from my sense of wonder when I saw them , newly born. If, according to Jesus, I who am sinful can say something like that to my daughter or my son, how much more can your heavenly Father say it to you… and mean it.
,I dare you to say it to your own amusement and embarrassment and, by the way to the torture of the devil of hell who has perhaps been torturing your soul and mind for many years… When you get up tomorrow, look in the mirror and say, “In the Name of God, in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I say to you, “Hello beautiful!”