Every baby is cute and every bride is beautiful.
Really? Well, what’s the first thing you say when that new mom gives you a look at her newborn? “Oh, she/he is so cute,” you say. Red, wrinkled, hairless, and fussy – but the first instinct is to comment on how cute the kid is. Why is that?
You’re sitting on the inside aisle of the church as the Bridal March begins and the bride, in full blush, walks past your elbow. The lady sitting ahead of you turns to her neighbor and says, “My, isn’t she beautiful!” People in the audience aren’t holding up cards with a “6” or an “8.5” as though this was the Olympics and the bride was being graded. Everyone agrees: the bride is beautiful.
Why is that?
Because when we love someone it brings out the beauty in them. (Incidentally, that’s why some of the most important volunteers in your church are the greeters in the lobby. Or the welcoming team in the parking lot – especially if it’s raining and they have umbrellas. That’s not a job, it’s a ministry.) I love it when I go into the post office here in our home town and Knox or Stephanie greet me by name. It doesn’t make me feel beautiful, but it does give me the sense that I’m valued. I smile. It also makes me want to go back.
Just as it’s true there is nothing we can do that could make God stop loving us, we also want to communicate to every member and guest that there is nothing they can do that would cause us to stop loving them, marginalize them, or see them as anything but beautiful. Church must not only be a safe place, but also a place where we call forth the best in each other. Just as every bride is seen as beautiful, so is every member of what Jesus calls His Bride.
Many churches have a “praise and prayer time” each week when the worshipers first describe their thanks to God for His specific providences during the preceding week, then those who wish to, ask for a special blessing from the Lord to meet a need they or someone they care about is facing. For many, this part of the prayer time is one of the most significant events in the service as they have the sense that the burden they carry is being shared by the entire church family. They feel loved and to feel loved is to feel beautiful. Not “pretty,” that’s on the outside. But “beautiful” is a matter of the heart and that’s on the inside.
I’ll bet your church is full of beautiful people.
By Don Jacobsen