Every soul longs for beauty. We yearn for beauty, in all its forms, and beauty draws our hearts as well as our eyes. Functional serves its place, and practical meets needs, but beautiful enriches and elevates us. Functional and practical belong to the temporal world; beauty belongs to eternity.
Music is a wonderful art. Good music offers fun, entertainment, or relaxation. Beautiful music calls to the deep places in our souls, invoking passion, arousing our wills, engaging our whole being.
Plants produce food for nourishing our bodies. A beautiful garden presents us with much more, offering loveliness, peace and hope in its visual and olfactory delights.
Prisoners in jail are provided with food, shelter and clothing. Contrast their experience with a family dinner on a special occasion: everyone dressed in their finest outfits, the table decorated with family heirlooms, traditional recipes with fancy touches, and the rooms filled with warmth, laughter and remembrances.
The beauty of the latter exists not only in the physically detectable delights, but also in the unseen world of love, acceptance and joy we desire and hope for on such occasions. We hunger for beauty in both worlds, seen and unseen.
This craving is truly a longing for heaven, the one place where outward and inward beauty alike reach their fullest expressions. Is it any wonder Jesus describes heaven as a wedding feast? Or a city-garden, built from gold and jewels, filled with lovely, fruit-bearing trees? And a place where we experience everlasting joy, without sorrow or pain?
In our heart of hearts, as Lewis said, we long for heaven most of all.