I know this sounds pompous and lame... But if you had just spent the last 4 hours with the same girls I did, you would walk away with the same impression: beautiful.
Tonight Dawn and I took the bible study girls to a cemetery. We spent some time reflecting on some saints of the faith, people we see as pilgrims and as sojourners. We talked about Corrie Ten Boom and the drastic, faith-filled measures she went through to proclaim Christ in her life, even in the concentration camps. We talked about William Wilberforce who, after experiencing redemption, fought to make his passion for speaking a part of his new life in Christ. His 18 years of toil finally brought the Slave Trade Act, but not without suffering.
Of all the saints and all the pilgrims, one humble figure surpassed all and that is the person of Jesus Christ. Holy and blameless, we will never find a better example of what it means to live purely to the glory of God.
We reflected on how we might respond to Jesus' last words in the Great Commission. How exactly are we to go out, making disciples of all nations? What does that mean outside this 'reflective' conversations in a world that forgets to stop to breathe?
Looking around the cemetery, we saw rows and rows of flowers. Some were fresh, others fake, others old and weathered. In each of those graves rested someone whose physical body had passed. Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord is forever." Everything, absolutely everything in this world will pass away, except for the word of God. Our souls are preserved only because (and if) the Spirit is alive in us.
If our lives are built on anything other than the person and work of Jesus Christ... if we try to fulfill the Great Commission any other way (with gold or silver or hay or wood), our lives will count for nothing. But, if we live as Paul encourages the ministers of the new covenant in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16,
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.
Before people come to our graves and lay flowers in remembrance we can exude the fragrance of the knowledge of him. Though the flowers fade and the grass withers, the word of the Lord stands forever. The legacies of saints remains because they purposed their lives to reflect something greater - something outside this world. We, too, can decide for our lives to point to something greater... and the eternal fragrance will be unmistakable.
After our beautiful reflection in the cemetery we reconvened at Magnolia Cafe to chat about life. We all poured in to one another with joy and grace. We made very close friends with our server, with whom we shared that it was the first meeting of the gloriously beautiful club. We ended up asking him what it would take to be a part of the club and he said,
"well, evidently you have to be gloriously beautiful... but not wear too much makeup...apparently... and glow. .. you have to glow. okay."
And that about sums it up, folks. Weems (for this is what his friends affectionately called him) saw exactly what we see that makes us gloriously beautiful - the unique glow of God our Creator, Christ our Redeemer, and the Spirit our Guide.
So, with a little song and dance we concluded the first meeting of the gloriously beautiful club. But, my, how I hope for there to be many, many more.