“It’s just beautiful,” I told my husband as we paused by an orchid plant blooming outside the headquarters for the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. On that hot, humid
Beautiful. I wonder if, at times, we overuse that word. A movie star or pageant contestant may be called “beautiful.” The same for a radiant bride. To some, a spiffed-up classic car can take that adjective. Or a restored mansion, an intricate quilt, Persian rug, or even a smile after the braces come off. (That last comment comes from a mom who had two kids in orthodontia!)
But a hymn learned in childhood takes me to my favorite use of “beautiful,” the word prominent in the fourth verse:Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature, O Thou of God and man the Son!
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor, Thou my soul’s glory, joy and crown!
Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands, Robed in the blooming garb of spring;Jesus is fairer, Jesus shines purer, Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight, And all the twinkling starry host;Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer, Than all the angels heaven can boast.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all nations! Son of God and Son of Man!Glory and honor, praise, adoration Now and forevermore be Thine!
The hymn’s origins are sketchy. Some date it to the 12th century, saying German Crusaders and their children sang it during the long, weary trek to the
Its anonymity means more focus on God, not the human messenger, for its memorably-composed message of basking in God’s gifts of beauty, and letting praise replace complaint.
Beautiful Savior! Sometimes when I walk alone, I go with that “woeful heart” mentioned in the hymn’s second verse. The things of this life—the troubled people and situations I care about-- weigh me down. Then God brings my attention to something that’s a part of His creative magnificence, and the truth that, “Jesus is fairer, Jesus shines purer, Who makes the woeful heart to sing.”