Updated: Jan 20, 2022
The Beast Within
by Renee Davis
Once upon a time, in the hidden heart of France, a handsome young prince lived in a beautiful castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was selfish and unkind…. Then one night, an unexpected intruder arrived at the castle, seeking shelter from the bitter storm. As a gift, she offered the prince a single rose. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince turned the woman away…. The prince begged her for forgiveness, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart. As punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast…. As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)
Beauty and the Beast quite simply exposes monsters for what they are … any of us. Who of us has not turned our head away from another’s need as too expensive, too burdensome, too long lasting, too unappealing, too little in it for me, as the young prince did? Who of us has not been taken by our own pride? Who of us has not had a disgusted or hateful thought toward someone who has, in our mind, ”gone too far”, as Belle did? Who of us has not in selfishness assumed another would do for us what we want and been offended when they did not, as Gaston did? Who can say we have not mistaken someone’s motives for destructive when they meant nothing of the sort?
All these monsters within challenge us to repent of our fallen, beastly heart. In our beastly selves who has not been in despair over the hopelessness of our situation? This is exactly where we are driven in this show. And it is to the arms of Jesus we flee, who loves us when we do not deserve. The beauty is that we can NEVER deserve what he offers, but He still chose to sacrifice Himself for the beastliness that we have made of our lives. It is only the beauty of Jesus’ love that can truly transform us into His bride, something that we cannot do for ourselves. The message of Beauty and the Beast is so clearly a Christian message!
My plan is to tackle that metanarrative every chance I get with the cast and in the director’s notes for the audience. This is a battle for the hearts of a generation who has been inundated with, and fixated on, the monster. I have also been praying about the cast and the potential issues that might come up with the monster of identity crisis. My goal is to focus our attention on our true identity in Christ. As we see His amazing qualities all wrapped up in His utter kindness, grace, and love, we will abandon our puny efforts to heal ourselves of the beast that encases us, and allow the Lord to rip into our hardened soul until we have a heart of flesh reflecting His image. And then we will be able to love and be loved in return.
Of course, we have a ministry focus and this show will benefit Samaritan’s Purse medical ministry to repair cleft palates. The parallel is clear; these children born with defects and their parents have been rejected as monsters in their communities for no fault of their own. We want to draw the audiences’ attention to the healing work of this Christian organization that restores people in Jesus’ name, and then give the audiences an opportunity to support Samaritan’s Purse directly on the nights of the show.
And because Beauty and the Beast is such a huge favorite among children, we aim to draw many children and their parents to our show who may never have come to a church, and give them an opportunity to hear about the children’s worship and wonder ministry at Village Seven.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show us the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God….”