Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” (Rev. 7:13–14)
John’s vision was interrupted with a rhetorical question from the elder. Up to this point, John was fixated on the splendor of the vision before him. He described color, sound, feeling, and texture. When the elder spoke, I imagine John came back into his headspace and fumbled a bit to understand the question. Did the elder ask because he wanted to know the answer? That seems doubtful. The elder’s question to John seemed more like an intentional effort to balance beauty with intellect, feeling with thinking. It was like the elder was asking a question to say, “John, come back to us.”
God created people with a desire to feast upon beauty. One need only consider the popularity of image-sharing social media and fixer-upper TV shows as proof. We love to observe the old becoming new and worn becoming transformed. However, a life fixated on beauty alone is not the answer. The elder reminded John that, as good as it is to gaze upon the beauty of holy worship, we should still think about what we see.
Continue to ask questions about the nature of that which catches the eye. Who is a part of this beautiful celebration scene? Where did they come from? In John’s vision, there was a balance between wondrous emotion and thoughtful contemplation. Beauty needs thoughtfulness, and thoughtfulness needs expressions of beauty.
Pursue a balance between appreciating beauty and thoughtful questioning.
Erin Crisp is mom to three teenage boys, wife to a Wesleyan pastor, and vice president at an EdTech company. Erin loves to learn and to create meaningful learning experiences for others through teaching, designing, and consulting.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.