This is a video featuring Miroslav Volf by The Work of the People.
Can you find beauty in a rotting dog carcass?
You have to look with the eyes of love.
It is a question of the character of one’s soul.
This is a huge question. It is vitally important that Christians see that their vision should be able to access beauty anywhere, even in the carcass of a rotting dog. This is an intensely political question. Am I able to see beauty in the racist, the paedophile, the rapist, the murderer, anyone who is absolutely other, with anyone who is the ‘rotting dog’? Do I see them with eyes that recognise that they too bear the imago dei? Do I recognise that when I see them I am confronted with a reflection of God?
You need to attend to the shape of the self, which gives quality to your vision and then you can see what maybe otherwise, or what maybe others do not see.
I believe this to be, on some level, a question focussed eminently on the resurrection.
Is the shape of your self and sight defined by the new life and new creation unleashed within you by the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead? Do you see things in a way that affirms that beauty can be found in the obscene, that God shall ‘make everything new’, even rotting dog carcasses?
Can you see that the murderer and child pornographer cannot be said to be anathema to beauty, having been utterly embraced, extended forgiveness and welcome into the God’s kingdom? “For their is neither black nor white, neither gay nor straight, neither rich nor poor, neither pacifist nor murderer, neither sex addict nor celibate, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” A people without any disctinction is the essential dynamic of the people of God in Galatians 3:27.
Our ability to find beauty in the most cruel and oppressive places and people is dictated by the scope we afford the resurrection and new creation to be effective in and through ourselves and our communities, and the reality is the effects of both are far reaching through the raised and new creation instigating Jesus who is now Lord of the world. Everything bears the promise of being made new, beauty can be found in all people, as the crucifixion and resurrection confront us with God’s absolute embrace of the sinner – do you see with those eyes?
Perhaps the rotting dog carcass is another occasion for envisioning beauty as we become selves who see with the eyes of resurrection, knowing we hope in a God who, in the most tangible sign of the coming novelty, raises the dead.