Though for the majority of my life I've been a sunrise kind of girl, lately I've come to appreciate what I like to refer to as the transcendent hour. Every afternoon when I take Maggie out for her second outing of the day, I aim to time it just right so that I catch the miraculous moments when heaven feels just that much closer. The sun seems to be on fire in every shade of red, orange and yellow imaginable. The clouds take on new life, painted with purples and pinks.
In these moments, I feel alive in a way that I've never experienced. In that setting sun, peeking through trees and glistening over the Pacific, and dusting everything it touches with deep golden light, I see beauty deeper than I've ever been able to attain or understand. When I see this breathtaking sight, I feel the way Ann Voskamp describes in these excerpts from "One Thousand Gifts"...
I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep. Isn’t beauty what we yearn to burn with before we die? What else so ignites, hot flame? Beauty is all that is glory and God is Beauty embodied, glory manifested. This is what I crave: I hunger for Beauty. Is that why I must keep up the hunt? When I cease the beauty hunt, is that why I begin to starve, waste away?
Like an addiction, a compulsion that can’t stop its seeking, do I always want to see more beauty—more of the glory of God? Because that is what I am made for—to give Him more glory.
Beauty requires no justification, no explanation; it simply is and transcends. See beauty and we know it in the marrow, even if we have no words for it: Someone is behind it, in it. Beauty Himself completes.
What is this that I feel sitting here, coursing through me relentless, hot, ardent? I have to seek God beauty. Because isn’t my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don’t see God, I’ll bow down before something else.
Is worship why I’ve run for the moon? Not for lunar worship, but for True Beauty worship, worship of Creator Beauty Himself. God is present in all the moments, but I do not deify the wind in the pines, the snow falling on hemlocks, the moon over harvested wheat. Pantheism, seeing the natural world as divine, is a very different thing than seeing divine God present in all things. I know it here kneeling, the twilight so still: nature is not God but God revealing the weight of Himself, all His glory, through the looking glass of nature.
Wow. Writing out her words, I am just hit to the core. When I read them over, again and again as I do, I can't help but think, "YES! I'm with you, sister!" I crave beauty, hunt for it, yearn for it. It literally consumes my mind sometimes—though admittedly not always for good. I can sometimes let my desire for God Beauty be falsely satisfied through my pursuit of self-beauty. It never fulfills the way God's real beauty does—the way that sunset gives me the teensiest glimpse of the beauty I'll see one day when I meet my Maker.
I encourage you to take a walk this evening during the transcendent hour before the sun disappears into the night sky. And when you do so, I highly recommend listening to this mix of tunes, which I've compiled into a nice little playlist for you on iTunes (find it here)...
The Transcendent Hour Soundtrack
- Below My Feet by Mumford & Sons
- I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons
- Babel by Mumford & Sons
- Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
- Paradise by Coldplay
- Lovers in Japan by Coldplay
- Home by Phillip Phillips
- I Shall Be Released by Jack Johnson
- Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap
Image via Oh Pioneer!