God saw everything that [God] had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31, NRSV)

My reflection this morning is a simple invitation to you to look for the beauty around you. Look for the beauty you have taken for granted in familiar places and people. Look for the beauty you have missed because you have stayed away from unfamiliar places and people.

If you are like me and live in Naples year-round, you may see beauty in flowers that you had not noticed or in the birds now migrating back to Florida. If you are somewhere in the north where it is cold (I used to live in Buffalo), you may see beauty in the sun shining on new-fallen snow or in the birds that gather to eat from your birdfeeder. The natural world is full of beauty—from the smallest dragonfly to the grandest mountain, from the sunrise promise of a new day to the sunset praise for a day well-spent. Nature itself testifies to the awesome goodness of God and God’s creation. And yet too often we fail to see what is all around us.

But there’s more. Beauty and goodness are also found in the people and relationships that make up our lives. As a child, I learned “beauty is as beauty does.” There is beauty in the familiar faces of those we love—young and old, in the connections we make with each other—even via Zoom, and in the recognition of the divine spirit within each of us. There is also beauty in the faces and stories of those we do not know, who look and think differently from us, whom God invites us to know and love.

Whether it’s because of the challenges of the pandemic, economic uncertainty, or divisions among us, it is easy to despair. I invite you to lighten your heart and life by looking for the beauty around and within you. I hope you enjoy this rendition of one of my favorite hymns, For the Beauty of the Earth.

Prayer Focus:
For the beauty

Creator God: Thank you for the beautiful world you created. Forgive us when we take it for granted or misuse its resources. Give us eyes to see your face in the beauty around us; give us hearts to be the beauty for others. Amen.