Monday, September 8, 2008

Deceptive Beauty

As I walked the campus I was captivated by the webs on some of the trees. They were fascinating and beautiful in their own way, though I knew they meant death. The veins and leaf imprints left inside the webs were only an outline of the living green leaves that had been consumed. When I saw them, I could not help but photograph the evidence of destruction.

Again, when walking with my sister-in-law, we came upon huge mounds of vines. I could not resist capturing the beauty of the twisting vines going hundreds of directions in tiny spirals. However, they had totally covered some very beautiful sculptures underneath. They had blocked out the opportunity to see the beautiful work underneath. My sister-in-law went to work making a dent in the growth by ripping many of them off the scuptures they had strangled.

The vines on the brick of one of the campus buildings were striking in design and shape. An artist's eye could not help but be drawn to the design and color presented in beautiful light. However, I have seen brick homes with lots of damage to mortar where vines have consumed and damaged the exterior walls.

The farm implement was overgrown with vines. I imagined all the tilling and readying for seed it accomplished in its day. Now it was rusty and abandoned to the weeds. It certainly was great content for a photograph, but also great fodder for the mind.

I think what God was trying to repeat in different venues was that the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. We cooperate by our appetites for beauty. Perhaps a ton of money is beautiful to us, or our neighbor's wife, or a car that will really impress, or a home of huge proportions behind a gated entry. or fill in the blank. It doesn't have to be big...perhaps another pair of shoes or another piece of bling. Our self-centeredness, appetites, and desires for beautiful things of earth often deceive us into forgetting where real beauty and treasure resides. Our values become based in the need to impress others or bolster what we think of ourselves. God seems to be taken out of the equation of what is beautiful.
It becomes what we can buy, do, and say to garner what is beautiful in human terms.

...their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.
Phil. 3:19-20

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice!
Phil. 4:4

He will beautify the meek with salvation.
Ps. 149:4

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Prov. 31:30

From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
Psalm 50:2

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