Revering Life (and Beauty) in Unexpected Places

A pastor was once advised by a fellow elder against socializing with the laity.But the pastor, having a true pastor’s heart, chose to come out from behind the pulpit and interact with his congregants.It was a messy business at times, people being sinners and all, but he and his flock were both the richer for his direct involvement in their lives.

Similarly, the great Dutch Master, Rembrandt, was criticized by his biographer, Sandrart, for spending too much time among “the lower orders.”In the artist’s works, the common faces and imperfect bodies of those “lower orders” became the faces and bodies of saints and apostles – even Christ Himself.In his 1633 etching of The Good Samaritan one cannot help but notice the dog in the foreground squatting to perform a natural function. One writer noted that Rembrandt seemed intent on showing that Christians must have reverence for all life, even if aspects of it occasionally disgust him.

Last week I was reminded of the importance of revering all of life.My encounter was not one that involved anything close to being disgusting. It was quite the contrary; however, it was an encounter which took me outside my comfort zone.

It all began when one of my husband’s business contacts gave him a DVD of a singer/pastor who recently moved his ministry to Phoenix.With apologies to my few Spanish-speaking friends, I confess that my exposure to Hispanic music had yet to extend beyond snippets of stereotypical Hispanic radio. My husband and I were reluctant, but we popped in the DVD one night. Talk about being humbled!The singer and his band were incredible musical artists and the sincerity and beautiful imagery of the lyrics blew us away. Even the necessity of subtitles didn’t hamper our awed enthusiasm. We listened to the entire DVD, and on Friday we invited friends to join us at a live concert.

There were no subtitles at the concert, which made it a rather tedious endeavor at times. However, there was also no denying the treasure to be found there.I’m sure I still don’t see (or hear) to the depth of those like the pastor or Rembrandt, but I was truly convicted about my willingness to venture beyond my comfort zone in order to encounter meaningful beauty.But don’t take my word for it. Allow me to introduce you to Jesus Adrian Romero.These are a couple of videos I found with subtitles, but I highly recommend listening to “Esperame” (Expect Me) even without the subtitles.It’s gorgeous.

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