We got a pair of salt and pepper grinders today. We didn’t really need to grind the raw material, but there is something aesthetically pleasing in the notion. It’s not just utility; human beings factor in matters of beauty. Even the austere Shakers understood this. “Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.”
The pinkish hues of the salt and pepper are related on the colour spectrum but also different. They contrast with the neutral black, which sets off the colours. Put them on a white tablecloth and the presentation is complete. We think about how different things will occupy the same space. Interior designers get paid a lot to articulate the nuts and bolts of how to do this well.
While out we also picked up some sunflowers from the market. The day trips of late summer afford such small indulgences. Cut flowers were doing a booming business even though gardens are blooming all around us this time of year. We paid good money to bring into our home things that are functionally useless but beautiful.
Simple beauty is accessible. It knows no boundaries. It is gratuitous and easily had. In the global village, we are privy to many treats for the senses. We felt them tonight; wine from France, pasta recipe from Italy, and Nessun Dorma streaming from the home speaker. The salt and pepper that accompanies our meal were once exotic and hard to obtain. The pink rock salt is from the Himalayas. The peppercorns are from France. The music we are listening to is Italian. We do not understand the words but we like it just the same. Your heart cannot but leap at the Nessum Dorma when the music soars. Its beauty belongs to no particular nationality.
Isaiah had a vision of God’s church, gathered in. “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour.” Splendour.... even with human beings, it’s about beauty in the end, the real kind that lasts. It’s God’s mission to make everything beautiful and for us to share in it.
These is much to be said on matters of culture as if everything is in competition, when in fact it seems to be a case of the more the merrier. There is much variety in God’s created universe and it is all made for his good pleasure. In the book of Revelation, all of humanity will ultimately be gathered at the throne of God. Every nation tribe and tongue will be represented. There will be Italian music, French wine, exotic spices, and all manner of good things embraced from the far corners of the globe. It will be a burst of colour, music and splendour unlike anything the world has ever seen and we will be cleansed at the end, by beauty.