Beauty is a characteristic of an animal, idea, object, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. An “ideal beauty” is an entity which is admired or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection. (Webster)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is certainly true of these two photos. The beach at sunset, the vast fields of grass with a lone tree. Both beautiful but one can appeal more to us than the other. Beauty in Nature is a given. God not only created beauty that engages our senses and can inspire but we also see beauty on a spiritual scale in people and ideas, in Scripture and song, in poetry and music.
For many people, being in a place of beauty can add to and enhance thoughts and inspiration. For the retreat setting it is best when the participant surrounded in the beauty in nature, literature, and even the well planned ambiance of a rustically elegant room. Not an opulent room but one that is comfortable and homey so that their minds of the pastor and spouse can be free to attend to the course of study or prayer they have planned for the day.
For the Christian, beauty in nature points directly to the Creator of beauty. Each beautiful flower, tree, ripples in a lake or stream has within it’s structure, order. Our eyes are made to behold that order and that gives us peace. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:
“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees, take off his shoes, the rest sit ’round it and pluck blackberries.”