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Beauty Resurrected

Easter morning: My eyes pop open to the strains of the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel’s Messiah. My sister and I know to expect Bev Gallucci’s version of "He’s Alive" next, and that means one thing.

It’s one of the few mornings a year sleep holds no temptation for us. As Bev’s soprano voice reaches notes in the stratosphere, my dad bursts into the room. He sings at the top of his lungs with a goofy grin. "He’s alive!"

Easter morning: My eyes pop open to the strains of the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel’s Messiah. My sister and I know to expect Bev Gallucci’s version of "He’s Alive" next, and that means one thing.

It’s one of the few mornings a year sleep holds no temptation for us. As Bev’s soprano voice reaches notes in the stratosphere, my dad bursts into the room. He sings at the top of his lungs with a goofy grin. "He’s alive!"

My sister and I roll our eyes at each other, but before long, we’re dancing around the dining room table with him.

Growing up, each Easter was like the first Easter. And this is the foundation for my understanding of beauty–Beauty resurrected.

Jesus is beauty, and as such, he is the creator, giver, and model of beauty.

This understanding of beauty gives us basic truths. First, it means beauty enters into suffering, passes through suffering, and redeems suffering. It’s not nostalgic or sentimental. Nor does it focus on the elusive Golden Years. It doesn’t fear suffering, but willingly enters into it, holding the pain of the world. It takes us into the spiraling corruption of Judges and the rape of Tamar. But neither does it masochistically remain in the pain. It grieves, yes. It hurts, yes. But it redeems. It offers the hope of life.

Which brings us to our second point. Beauty transforms. This does not mean that it smooths over like retouched photos. It doesn’t erase–Christ’s resurrected body had scars in his hands and feet. Instead, it draws us into God’s story and through that, gives life and vitality. It takes a prostitute, a mourning widow, and a rape victim and includes them in Christ’s ancestry. It makes a couple grieving over infertility for almost a hundred years give birth to a nation. It shows how a couple who committed adultery then murder to hide their shame raised the man who would build the most magnificent structure in Israel’s history.

Third, it means beauty can be found everywhere. It is not contained by the walls of a museum, though it certainly is found there. It gathers in the Church (and in churches) and breaks into the world. It’s unexpected: Can anything good come from Nazareth? Misfits, vagabonds, and unclean shine with beauty. Beauty lurks in homeless shelters and rehab centers. It plays in ghettos, mansions, and suburbia. It knows no hierarchy. It transcends, but it’s not somewhere in the clouds. It walks among us in flip-flops, sneakers, and heels, speaks in our vernacular, and changes diapers.

Beauty enters into suffering, transforms, and canvasses. That’s Beauty resurrected.

For those of you who did not have the privilege to a Bev Gallucci record on Easter morning, I give you "He’s Alive." (I couldn’t find a Gallucci rendition, so Dolly Parton will have to do.)¬†

I dare you to listen to this without breaking into song and dance.

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Heather Goodman received her Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and currently homeschools her three children. Her writing can be found in If:Equip, Art House, and other publications.

7 Comments

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    Carol

    Heather,
    There’s something

    Heather,
    There’s something poetic about hearing/seeing Dolly Parton sing a song you associate with someone else. The song was new to me, nevertheless such a dramatic, glamorous and recognizable person carries about in her body the same message all Christians declare.

    Thanks for this reminder.

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      Heather A. Goodman

      I didn’t think about it that
      I didn’t think about it that way. But I guess finding this song in the Country Music Awards is finding Jesus in an unexpected place.

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    Sarah

    This reminds me of that
    This reminds me of that song, “So Much Beauty” because, really, beauty is everywhere, even (and maybe especially) in the places where we least expect it–not the ugly places, but the places where we wouldn’t even think to look anymore.

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    Sharifa Stevens

    AMEN! Our Redeemer lives!
    AMEN! Our Redeemer lives! Remixes our sad songs from dirges to triumphant boisterously joyful noises! Creates mosaics from cracked pots!