If there’s one thing we need to see and become changed by it’s the beauty of Jesus and the beauty of the Triune God in him. As we contemplate that beauty we begin to be changed into that image so that we reflect something of it into the world.
This is both an individual and a church matter. The beauty of Jesus is seen in our lives individually especially in terms of loving God and loving our neighbor (which is the first and greatest commandment and the second like it). It is relational at its core since at our core we are relational beings, surely part of God’s image in us, God who is inherently relational as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This beauty is worked out or becomes evident in community, and in fact can be seen and transformative there. As well as in solitude. We surely need both, perhaps with a needed emphasis on community since we have inherited such an individualistic (and rationalistic, both versus tradition and authority) world view in the Modernist Enlightenment.
It is not as much a matter of being right as being good. However goodness does not exclude truth. Truth and love are joined together in scripture. Love does not belittle truth. While we hold humbly to truth as we’ve received it as the church from scripture, we above all see the truth in Jesus, who is “the truth” (“the way and the truth and the life”). In some ways this beauty is easily recognized and appreciated by us, but in other ways not. We need new eyes to see, and that’s what we receive in the gift of the Spirit. Without the Spirit’s revelation we simply won’t get it. This revelation is for each of us, but is not a privatized vision, but one that is affirmed over and over again by the church.
And so that is what I hope for: both to see and to reflect the Lord’s beauty as I more and more am changed into that image with others in and through Jesus.