Last night my son and I visited the Muny here in St. Louis. It is an outdoor amphitheater, where each summer the seats are filled with those who love musicals, song and a story. The stars are out, the breeze is blowing softly and no matter where you sit, you see the stage before you, but you cannot help but look up at the beauty in the sky and see God's wonder.
We saw Beauty and the Beast. This is one of my all time favorite movies and my second time seeing it at the Muny. When I see this story I see Jesus. I see Belle, the beauty she holds, the compassion she carries, and the wonder of life. She is the beauty that we all dream of holding in our hearts. Now, on the older hand, we have the Beast. Although on the outside all you see is the unwanted pain, the scars of hurt, and on the inside, well, we see the battle within fighting the anger and resentment of what life has brought. Now there is Belle's father. The man she looks up to. The man who has not been able to provide much in material ways, but there is nothing that could mean more to Belle than the love he shares with her. As Belle's father is held captive, she comes to his rescue. She gives her own self for her father. She is the sacrifice that he might live again. Now, you have Gaston, who is fighting for Belle's attention. He is a distraction, one who does not have good intentions and is only seeking Belle for his own satisfaction. He is prideful, arrogant, and one of those people who are selfish and unruly. Belle sees Gaston for who he is and what he is, but beyond him, she sees past the outer covering of the Beast. A covering he is wearing so his pain doesn't show, but if you are looking closely you can see the deep scars he is carrying. She sees beyond his pain, and sees him for the man he really is. He is more of a man than the handsome Gaston will ever be.
Isn't that what love is all about? Sacrifice, seeing beyond the outside, and looking within at the beauty one beholds? As she gives, she receives. And as the Beast opens his heart, he realizes the pureness in Belle, and a love blossoms beyond all unexpected possibilities.
As Belle loves to read, she just doesn't have her nose stuck in a book. She is searching the pages for life. She is moving forward and growing a young woman. She is not expecting love, but dreaming of it and in the Beast she finds that pure love. In the end, their love is what changes all. Their love breaks the spell, and the Beast is now a prince. But wasn't he always a prince? That fact never changed. He was still a prince, it was just the pain of the curse that covered the beauty that was waiting to get out and shine.
Jesus is our sacrifice. He paid the price for us. He took our place in that dungeon of darkness so we too could have life. His blood covers the pain of our curse and reveals the beauty within us, just waiting to shine humbly before others. In the love of Christ we find peace, comfort, and healing. When we allow Him to remove the anger, resentment, and hurt, He reveals much more in us. He shines through us, bringing a love of unconditional value. A pure love that can only come from Him.
In this world I may never hold the title of princess. But in God's eyes? I am His princess. I am a daughter of the King. And with that title comes my name written in the book of life, never to be erased.
We spend too much time looking at the outward man instead of looking into his heart. As we sat at the Muny watching people, you can see the hurt and anger they carry with them. You can see that they are searching and coming up empty, for they are searching in the wrong places for what is to complete them. Christ alone completes us and makes us whole. The outward man is nothing but a shell that carries what is deep inside. And it is that treasure inside that is valuable and real.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beholder of our beauty is Christ and is He is waiting for us to come to Him so that beauty might shine before others in a freedom we didn't know possible.
Dreams are not just for children. May we open our hearts and dream of all the possibilities before us in Christ. He is the key to setting us apart, and bringing life to the hurting. May our dreams be the dreams He has for us, and may we look to Him to caste away the curse and bring forth life as we have never known.