“Behold and see, we are beautiful”
by Nina Joan
What do you see in three yellow roses? I asked myself as I photographed my younger sister holding these flowers. We picked the flowers together from our Mother’s rose garden and then sought a suitable place and background to take a photograph. I was delighted with the way the photograph turned out. And in that moment and often in times gone by, there is another feeling I have felt when I capture of glimpse of nature. I am simply in awe of beauty. When I see these roses I see something more than the array of colours, the variety of shapes and sizes or the sweet smelling fragrance. I see beauty. And that beauty gives life to my soul. These roses do not have some mysterious power in their possession. What they do have is a reflection, a reflection of the one who created them.
The great theologian Jonathan Edwards once said, “For as God is infinitely the greatest Being, so he is allowed to be infinitely the most beautiful and excellent; and all the beauty to be found throughout the whole creation, is but the reflection of the diffused beams of that Being who hath an infinite fullness of brightness and glory.” Wherever we see creation we see the beauty of God. This is why I love photography. A photograph is a moment of God’s beauty captured. The beauty that we behold points to Him. In the prayer of St Augustine, ‘’The Beauty of Creation Bears Witness to God’, eloquently describes beauty and its relation to God:
Question the beauty of the earth,
the beauty of the sea,
the beauty of the wide air around you,
the beauty of the sky;
question the order of the stars,
the sun whose brightness lights the days,
the moon whose splendour softens the gloom of night;
question the living creatures that move in the waters,
that roam upon the earth,
that fly through the air;
the spirit that lies hidden,
the matter that is manifest;
the visible things that are ruled,
the invisible things that rule them;
question all these.
They will answer you: “Behold and see, we are beautiful.”
Their beauty is their confession to God.
Who made these beautiful changing things,
if not one who is beautiful and changeth not?
These three yellow roses say (to paraphrase St Augustine), “Behold and see, we are beautiful. Our beauty is our confession to God, our Creator”. All of creation displays a reflection of God’s beauty. If what we see on earth is only a reflection of His beauty. His beauty is beyond comprehension! What do you see in three yellow roses? I see beauty and a reflection of the Creator.
By Nina Joan