John sees, descending from heaven, a great city. This city is immense in scale and almost indescribable in its beauty. What is that city to us? It is the answer to all that we long for. Where we will never lack for beauty, never need to search for God, and never suffer loss. But do we want to go?
There is a city of gold
Far from the rat-race that eats at your soul
Far from the madness and the bars that hold
There is a city of gold.
There is a city of light
Raised up in heaven, and the streets are bright
Glory to God, not by deeds or by might
There is a city of li-i-i-ight.
Bob Dylan, City of Gold
It is written on the heart of man to appreciate glory, and it takes a great act of the will to pervert this attraction. We delight in a beautiful sunset, in the sound of rushing water, and in gemstones, because each of these images the very glory of God Himself. Fallen man may not want God, but he does want God’s glory.
James B. Jordan
Through Beauty we are led to a joy, which belongs to another world. That is why we need to pray for eyes, ears, noses, and touch to be alive to a sense of Beauty, to hear its whispers and read the symbols correctly, and be led to a deeper appreciation of the world to which it beckons.
Perhaps, then, the old trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply the dressed up, worn out formula we thought in our presumptuous, materialistic youth. If the crowns of these three trees meet (as most scholars have asserted) and if the too obvious, too straight sprouts of Truth and Goodness have been knocked down, cut off, not let grow— perhaps the whimsical, unpredictable, unexpected branches of Beauty will work their way through, rise up to that very place, and thus complete the work of all three.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)
From his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1970
You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.