A Homily on Beauty

In all honestly, until I read about Ping Homilies, I did not know what a homily was. The Wikipedia says a homily is a sermon on a practical matter, a moralizing lecture, and so on; I’m going to see if I get it right while participating in my first Ping Homily as a member of 9rules, on the topic of beauty.
How does one define beauty? I couldn’t easily do so if asked, though I would probably mention that for something to be beautiful, that something must be pleasant or appealing. That is a very subjective guide, and so beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

I know there are more that could, but a single Bible verse is stuck in my mind:

And how shall they preach unless they be sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15, NKJV

What is beautiful to you? Does beauty require appearances that rival Hollywood’s finest? Billions of dollars are spent each year on cosmetics, surgeries, and more to make sure even the smallest, most insignificant features of our faces are picture perfect. The same is true of fashions. It seems to me that somewhere along the line, people stopped being beautiful and make-up and clothes became beautiful.
Look back at what Paul penned in the verse above: how beautiful are the feet… These are the lowliest part of the human body being praised for being beautiful in a time when hundred dollar shoes had yet to be invented! How beautiful are the feet of those who go out and travel the dusty roads in nothing more than sandals (if they could afford them!), walking for miles just to bring the good news, the “gospel of peace,” to those who have not heard it.

Beautiful are those who sacrifice themselves–their time, their well-being, their possessions, their lives–so that others might simply hear that they may have life, and that through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Why not “how beautiful are the mouths that preach the gospel of grace”? Why did the Spirit mention feet? I see in that a great message of humility. A preacher from the early church wouldn’t have had an air-conditioned car to drive to church and back in, nor would he have had gel-cushioned insoles with extra-soft cotton socks for when he did have to do some walking or for standing through the intolerably long twenty minute sermonettes.

No, the evangelists of the early church were men of devotion, of passion, of sacrifice. With what they had–which was never much–they would travel from town to town, preaching for hours at a time to a lost and dying world that Jesus Christ had come and made atonement for their sins, and that by a wonderful outpouring of grace they may partake of eternal life by simply believing in Him. They would preach until they were thrown out of the town, and even that may not have stopped them for long!

These feet, battered and worn, calloused and dirty are declared for all eternity to be beautiful. Nay, rather HOW BEAUTIFUL!

It is that sacrifice of service for the spreading of the gospel that I see beauty in. Those men who leave all and travel to remote parts of the planet to give the gospel of peace to those who have never heard it–how beautiful even their feet are!

For those who suffer injury for the sake of Christ, for those who aren’t afraid to get dirty in His service, and for those who sacrifice pride and prettiness for preaching and persecution… Therein is found a beauty that cannot be found in a jewelry store, in a men’s magazine, in movies, or on a fashion runway.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Isaiah 52:7

Looks like this may be my first & last ping homily, due to the religion community leader dropping out of 9rules. Oh well. This was fun while it lasted. Gave me something to write about. :)

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