Hello SPV Family!
I'm not sure if you noticed but Russia has been in the news a lot lately so I thought I would revisit a Russian news story...from about 1,000 years ago. Prince Vladimir, a pagan Russian monarch, was looking for a new religion to unify the Russian people so he sent out teams to investigate various religions around the world. As his teams came back to report their findings, this is what was said about Christianity:
"Then we went to Constantinople and they led us to the place where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or earth, for on earth there is no such vision nor beauty, and we do not know how to describe it; we only know that God dwells among men. We cannot forget that beauty."
It was from this "Russian news story" that Prince Vladimir decided to adopt Christianity as their new national faith. Notice that it wasn't their intellect or apologetics or theology or moral superiority but rather the beauty in which they carried themselves and presumably acted towards each other that was so attractive. Now don't get me wrong, I am definitely not against intellect or morality or solid theology (I am a big fan of all 3!), but Oh! that the church would major in that which is beautiful!
Coincidence or not but it was the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky who coined the phrase "beauty will save the world." He may not have had Jesus or the Christian faith in mind when he coined that phrase but personally I am convinced that there is nothing more beautiful than Jesus and there is no greater expression of his beauty than his love towards us, our love and worship back to him, and that same love breathed and lived out one to another. Throw in the incredible beauty of his creation, like Yosemite Valley and Highway 1 along the Pacific ;) or even our amazing Gulf of Mexico sunsets and we've got more than enough beauty/loveliness to think, meditate, and focus on as Philippians 4 encourages us to do.
So let's focus on beauty! Let's celebrate beauty! Let's live out and emulate beauty!
Much love to all of you beautiful people,