To the Word

Reflections on the call to live by the Word of God

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Location: Mud Creek, Tennessee, United States

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

On Beasts and Beauties

Thursday afternoon my wife, Carolyn, and I watched the play Beauty and the Beast as part of our twentieth anniversary celebration. The story of Belle and the Beast is an enduring one, I think, for a couple of reasons.

At one level, every man who has found his life's companion knows that his own beast has been somehow tamed by the blessed relationship with his wife. Looking back over the past twenty years with Carolyn, I see how God has transformed me from the beastly man I was at age twenty-one.

For Christians, the story of Beauty and the Beast resonates on an even deeper level. The Beast, you know, is us before the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ breaks through into our lives. Without God's Holy Spirit, we are no more than beasts---worse than beasts, actually. Worse because God created us to be lords over the beasts, yet by sinning we reduce ourselves to equal or less than those creatures over which we are meant to have dominion. "Lilies that fester," Shakespeare wrote, "smell far worse than weeds."

I praise God that through the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ, and the transforming power of God's Holy Spirit, we can be beautiful in the eyes of the Father. And I praise him, too, that he has blessed me these past twenty years to walk the pilgrim's path with a beauty who, by the grace of God, brings me comfort and shows me love. Amen.

Copyright 2004, Milton Stanley


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