Beauty can sneak past our heads and dwell in our hearts. It is felt before comprehended. Like a glass that fills itself from within, beauty can fill our hearts with streams of warmth, affirmation and familiarity, while our head happily and willingly drifts in wonder. The Theology of The Body was the first time I heard about a universal echo in our hearts. When I heard about it I knew it to be true because … well, its there! But I never had a name for it. This echo resonates when it encounters what it craves, and what it craves is love. Love is both true and beautiful. Jesus is the most true and beautiful love. Therefore our hearts crave Jesus whether we know it or not.
Simply to tell people they crave Jesus with words alone attempts to dwell in the intimate warm echo chambers of their heart by entering through the dense, cold, spray-painted walls of their heads. Like a one-sided love affair, the truth battles to enter but is met with force and thickness comprised of history, hurt and fear… with a side of bad formation. It is a thick wall that’s reinforced by time, habit, relationships and culture, and it seems impenetrable. But Beauty knows no boundaries. Beauty, like a spring, pops the callused cork and floods the heart from within, flowing down the mountain of self awareness, through the crevasse of experience, into the drying reservoir of the echo. That reservoir fills and rises in temperature and begins to bubble to a boil. If given time, tenderness and community, that boil begins to condensate, rise and collect at the threshold of the mind, where it begins to soften and saturate that mind. It is at these moments that the head follows the lead of the heart and the two begin to open together in unison in search of the source. The cold wall begins to come down, the head and heart join hands and enter a vulnerable state of pliability. These are the moments that the truth can be found, seen and accepted through the freedom of the individual.
This is why we say: lead with Beauty. It has the power to awaken and be a guide on the journey. My goal with music has always been to bring Jesus to the people right where they are standing. My method is to try and create something beautiful. Sometimes I do this well and sometimes … not so much, but the effort needs to be made. So when asked to play a Christmas song for the NBC affiliate TMJ4 in Milwaukee, I happily accepted and was excited by the opportunity. I decided to do one of my favorite Christmas songs, “O Holy Night” because the lyrics and melody are some of the most beautifully written. I decided to arrange it stripped back and bare, just voices and one guitar, because the melody and lyrics don’t need much help. And my hope was that for three minutes, the audience and I could quietly come together, get ourselves out of the way and make room for the most true and Beautiful love. May God bless you on your journey.
[Order Mike Mangione & the Kin’s new album “But I’ve Seen the Stars” and learn more about Mike’s music here.]