It’s show time…again.
Last night, Beauty and the Beast opened at LifeHouse Theater. This time, Carissa and I are in the production. It was supposed to be Cathy’s turn to audition for a show, but when it comes to making our domestic life function, I am ever so much more expendable. It worked out for the best anyway, because I got cast in the role of the Father—no actual name, just “Father”—and as good as Cathy is, I don’t think she could have pulled it off.
Before we get too deep into this, I should point out that the show we are doing is not the version that you may be familiar with from the Disney universe. It is based upon the same source, however, and the underlying story should track.
Beauty and the Best is a great story, and every great story is an echo of the Great Story. I know I have said that before, and my readers—both of you—are probably feeling a little redundified. Still, it’s true, so you’ll just have to go with me for a bit. Take a look with me at some of the lessons God can teach us through this show.
Lesson #1—Look Deeply
Man looks at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). When God sent his prophet to anoint a new king for his people, Samuel was naturally drawn to the tallest, strongest, manliest looking of the men. Had I been on the scene, he probably would have gravitated to me. God nixed that one, however—as he would have nixed me—because God could see the man’s heart. In our show, the Enchantress comes to the Prince to test him. She sees what is in his heart, and transforms him so that his outward appearance reflects his inward, ugly self. Over the course of time, the Beast has a change of heart so that, again, the outward visage does not reflect the man within. Rose must choose to see beyond outward appearances—like both her heavenly and earthly fathers have taught her—in order to see, love, and free her Prince.
Lesson #2—Treasure Wisely
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). Jesus instructed his followers to focus on the things of Heaven, because the things of this world are fragile and temporary. Ivy and Iris, Rose’s two sisters, apparently missed that message. These girls are utterly consumed with their place in the world, and how they appear to others. They are constantly looking for the material possessions—and rich husbands—that they think will bring them happiness. In all their plans, there is no room for God. Rose, meanwhile, is content. Her treasure is her family, particularly her Father, who loves and cares for her. She does not concern herself with worldly gain, and does not seem to care about other’s opinions. This gives Rose a quiet strength, wisdom, and beauty that her sisters just can’t understand. When crisis comes, Rose trusts and follows her heart, and it leads her to a far different, far better place than her sisters’ limited imaginations could conceive.
Theme #3 Love Sacrificially
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). Rose willingly goes to the castle of the Beast in the place of her father. Her love for her father spurs her to take the punishment that is rightfully his.
The Beast, who has finally found someone to love in Rose, gives her up so that she can return to her father. He loves her enough to want what is best for her, even at the cost of his future. He also risks his life by protecting Rose and her father from the attacking wolves. Father shows this same love by releasing Rose to return to the Beast. His other daughters have already left to make their way in the world, and Father knows that his choice may leave him alone and bereft of the person he loves most. Still, his love for her is such that he must let her go.
Story has power when it reflects the inner truth of our lives and the ultimate truth of God’s will. Frankly, I’m surprised that I can learn from a dream-sotted girl with a ditzy dad, two obnoxious sisters, and a boyfriend with hygiene issues. But to the extent that I see myself in the characters—I won’t tell you which—and see God’s truth at work in the plot line, I find power. Life changing kind of power.
Every great story is an echo of the Great Story.
And this is a great story.