January 21, 2024 - Episode #4923


Conductor: Mack Wilberg

Organist: Andrew Unsworth

“Let There Be Light!”

Music: Gilber M. Martin

Lyrics: John Marriott

“Be Thou My Vision”

Music: Irish Melody

Lyrics: Mary E. Byrne

Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Finale,” from Symphony no. 6 (organ solo)

Music: Charles-Marie Widor

“Homeward Bound”

Music and Lyrics: Marta Keen Thompson

Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“For the Beauty of the Earth”

Music: John Rutter

Lyrics: Folliott S. Pierpoint

“Let Us All Press On”

Music and Lyrics: Evan Stephens

Arrangement: Richard Elliott

Spoken Word

Reason Not the Need

January 21, 2024

(Recorded in Mexico City, June 2023)

By: Lloyd D. Newell

Beauty feeds our souls. We need food, water, and shelter to survive, but we need beauty to thrive. So in addition to planting vegetable gardens, we plant flowers. We build shelters, but we also paint murals, lay decorative tile, strum guitars, and build fountains like those we see here in beautiful abundance in Mexico. We crave the creativity that enhances our existence, even though some might consider it “nonessential.”

In one of his famous speeches, Shakespeare’s King Lear tries to help his unfeeling and selfish daughters, Goneril and Regan, understand the essential nature of the nonessentials. When his daughters argue that he no longer needs all the flourishes of his former life, Lear implores them, “O, reason not the need!” Reduced to only what we need, he says, our life becomes as “cheap as [a] beast’s.”[1] There is more to humanity—more to living—than just sustaining life.

We were created not just to live but to have joy. When we create and appreciate beauty, we are following the pattern of our Creator. He made the sun because we need sunlight, and He also made sunrises and sunsets colorful because we need beauty. As His children, we do the same when we create works of art like these colorful tiles—not so much because they’re functional but because they’re beautiful. Similarly, we could state a truth, or we could share it through poetry and music, and suddenly the truth becomes a treasure. Beauty improves life.

Just days before His burial, the Lord was approached by a woman with “an alabaster box of ointment … very precious.”[2] In a sacred and loving act of worship, she applied the fragrant oil on the Savior’s head. Some responded critically: the oil was so expensive, the gesture so unnecessary. But the Savior answered, “She hath wrought a good work on me.”[3] The cost of the oil would soon be forgotten, but the woman’s beautiful gesture would always be remembered.

Whenever we lovingly create, whenever we carefully beautify, whenever we lift others with our creative acts of loveliness, we glorify God. We bring ourselves and others a little closer to the divine. So next time you’re inclined to make something beautiful, “reason not the need.” Make the world a little better by making it just a little more beautiful.

[1] William Shakespeare, King Lear , act 1, scene 4, line 304.

[2] Mark 14:3.

[3] Mark 14:6.