This Tragic Place

Last night, my sister and I saw the musical Beauty and the Beast.

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I’ve wanted to see this musical for years because of one particular song: “Home”.

Belle sings “Home” during her first night as prisoner in the castle. In just hours, she has been accosted (and “proposed” to) by a misogynistic oaf she hardly knows, lost her father for what’s sure to be forever, and is now doomed to spend the rest of her days with the terrible Beast. I, too, would burst out in tragic song.

Is this home?
Is this what I must learn to believe in?

With what’s happening around the world, I ache for Heaven. For the heartbreaking losses of Orlando and the horrific ways we have responded, for the outrageous Brock Turner assault and our apathy toward and perpetuation of rape culture, and for the little things that scratch at my own life, I pray that Jesus will come.

Try to find something good in this tragic place –
just in case I should stay here forever, held in this empty space.

I am overwhelmed, wary of saying or doing something to release the politically-correct wrath of someone more educated than I. I am ashamed of how I-as a Christian- focus more on the legalities and the formulas than the gospel. And at the end of the day, I’m scared that nothing I do will be of any benefit to this broken world of ours.

Oh, but that won’t be easy. I know the reason why:
my heart’s far, far away; home’s a lie.

So if I were Belle, I’d sit on that cushioned bed and crank out one sob song after another.

98% of me is blissfully drifting down the river, hands folded, eyes closed in ignorance, waiting to reach the feet of Jesus.

2% wonders: what would happen if we cared?

What if we, like Belle, finished bawling, picked ourselves off the floor, and made concentrated efforts to engage our world in love?

What if we stopped fearing things and people we didn’t understand and initiated means to do so?

What if?

Let’s stop running from the world-“those people” and “those things”-because the very situations we’re shaming and hating are places where the love of God is most needed.

Belle stayed.  She listened to, ate with, and cared for the Beast. She realized he wasn’t willingly ignorant-he’d just never learnt to read. He wasn’t hateful-he actually cared for her relationship with her father. He wasn’t against her-he simply had yet to understand.

Yes, Belle married the Beast. No, we are not meant to marry the world (John 17:14-17).

But we are meant to transform the world as God’s hands and feet (Matt 28:16-20). And if the feet are busy running in the opposite direction, and the hands are twiddling their thumbs, don’t be surprised when even the world says “depart from me; I never knew you”.

“Oh,” you may say, “it’s so uncomfortable.” It is. It’s uncomfortable to step outside of what you know and reach into another’s life. But if God was willing to put His life aside and mingle, love, and die for the most mind-boggling creatures of existence (read: us) and not judge them aside from what He alone as the Judge can do (John 8:11), then what are we doing?

Jesus doesn’t call us to take flight.

Jesus calls us to “take heart”. (John 16:33)

Jesus doesn’t call us to hide.

Jesus calls us to be seen as the light, be tasted as the salt. (Matt 5:14)

This is not our forever home, but we’re no less called to make it a home of God’s love.

beautyandbeast

 

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