Has our age lost a love for beautiful things? With all our environmental education my travels still find McDonald’s coffee cups and beer bottles in the most remote of places. I was born in the late 50’s and schooled in the 60’s and 70’s when environmental care was not on the curriculum. As I drive past the polystyrene burger container, the soft drink cans and chip wrappers I find it interesting that in a bygone age we never had to be told to not throw our rubbish on the ground or out the car window. We never had to advertise with slogans like, “Dob in a Tosser”. Perhaps it was the old emu parade at school that taught us to put our rubbish in the bin. Lined up across the playground we marched in a slow line picking up the least skerrick of rubbish. More likely, the inspiration to our rightful disposal of rubbish came from a father’s belt or a mother’s wooden spoon, the teacher’s cane, or a clip over the ear from a senior citizen or the local constabulary. Today in the litter of rubbish individualism, a parent is laughed at, a teacher has no power against defiance, the senior citizen is not off limits to a bashing and the police are filmed on phones by those who would corrupt the course of justice.
It seems like an age since someone spoke of the value of modesty, the beauty of virginity, the influence of faithfulness, the power of humility, the character of gentleness, the works of kindness and respect for life. If you love beautiful things then it is time to come to their defence. What would the environment of living look like when these beautiful things are trashed?
Does advertising have to tart up women and children? Does virginity still exist below the age of consent and does anyone value it beyond? While marriage is a political football, faithful promises are defeated in divorce and the model of unfaithfulness repeated in every sphere of life. No one’s word is trusted and yet there are so many voices. We live in a world that aborts its children but gives life and breathe to the bully and encouragement to the proud. What ever happened to respect for the humble, appreciation of the gentle and praise for the kind?
Is it any wonder we can’t have civil debate when we live in the age of the loss of beautiful things? As it has been so it seems it always will be. Humanity has always been proficient in taking the humble, gentle and kind and persecuting them out of jobs and bullying people to death. It is no surprise that such freedom from beautiful things seeks the removal of truth and the silencing of free speech, for truth is the one thing that controls a person’s freedom. Truth is the one thing the freedom to be ugly despises. Indeed, truth is a beautiful thing. We seem to be skilled in crucifying beauty, while throwing our litter everywhere.
Personally, I still plead for the love of beautiful things – the modesty that does not flaunt itself in pride but offers humble sacrificial service of others, the merciful kindness that extends the hand of forgiveness, the endurance of faithful love that never fails you, the rescuing application of truth and the hope of the resurrection of beautiful things.
Suffering in an age of tossers does not sound like a beautiful thing but love that suffers to offer others the beautiful things must be beautiful in itself. Easter reflects this truth. Bullies crowned truth with thorns, the litter of their actions scoured in flesh not their own, finished, as they had hoped, in the crucified remains of the lover of beautiful things, Jesus Christ.
I have never lived in an age that seems so intent on working itself toward an environment of human catastrophe. A catastrophe born out of the loss of the most beautiful thing – God Himself. To avert catastrophe, Easter reminds us that God the Father sent His one and only Son into the world to save “tossers”… I mean sinners. That’s us! He did this for you and me. For the love of beautiful things Easter Sunday offers us the hope of resurrection and there is no doubt that hope needs resurrecting.
Armidale Anglican Diocese