And So It Begins

And So It Begins

Posted on October 28, 2016

BY SUE ROSECRANS, GRACE ATTENDER

Between October 28 and November 6, Grace Church proudly presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! If you haven’t purchased your tickets, there may still be some available. The show centers around transformation through grace, forgiveness and love. Over the next 10 days, Be Our Guest and check out our daily devotionals centered around these themes and the production! Check back every day for the latest devotional! 

I saw it last night. I have enjoyed occasionally coming to rehearsals to watch you all change, grow and become a show. On this particular evening, you were running Act 1 for the very first time. That is when I saw it. Groups huddled together talking, inside jokes beginning, laughing, smiling, taking care of each other and working hard together…yes, you were becoming a family. I know you will be known as The Beauty and The Beast Cast, but let’s be real. You are a family! It is what you will come to love about doing a show at Grace-the community.
 
Have you ever wondered why this doesn’t happen in other clubs, activities, projects you are involved in? Jesus. One word that changes everything and everyone. Jesus. You see, when He is at the center of the project, it is different. I will use a word that defines this show. Transforms. Jesus transforms a show cast into a family. Jesus transforms a theatrical performance into an outreach for a local church. Jesus transforms a beautiful musical into a message of His grace and redemption. I can state with every fiber of my being that the leaders of Grace, the artistic team, the members of Grace’s Drama team all share one goal.

1 "Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory." (Psalm 1115:1)
 
His Name is at the center of this production, every last detail. He will be at the center the next several weeks as well. Simply put, when Jesus is in the center of whatever you are doing, things change. Water into wine.  Losers into winners. Religion into surrender. Chaos into peace. Darkness into light. Brokenness into healing. Sacrifice into salvation. Condemnation into grace. Forever lost into forever found. Jesus changes everything.

So I watched as you began to change. I watched as a family started to form. I will encourage you as you work tirelessly to nail down every detail of your performance. I will applaud you when working together a show is fashioned. I will celebrate you as the performances touch lives. I will rejoice with you because you have allowed Him to transform you into one of His own.
Enjoy the ride.
 
After each day’s devotional, I added two additional helps. For the younger actors and any actors young at heart, there are a few questions under Posse Ponderings. Following the questions are a few scriptures taken from the New International Version (NIV) and the Message (MSG). I used characters and moments from the show, so hopefully, those of you with children will be able to share this devotional with your family.  My prayer as I have worked and written has been “may you all be blessed and feel His deep love for each of you.”
Thankful, Grateful, Blessed.-Sue

Once upon a Time...In the Beginning
 
“Once Upon a Time in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the Prince was spoiled, selfish and unkind.”

Once Upon a Time…sometimes I think once upon a time is just another way to tell an ancient truth, an original story. How similar is “Once Upon a Time” to “In the Beginning?” Both stories reveal the best in our creator and worst in all of us.
 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8-9)

. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:2-9)

In the beginning, we were spoiled, selfish and unkind. We wanted to be the boss, the king, the queen, the prince or the princess. We believed a lie, reached for a piece of forbidden fruit, then felt ashamed. We’ve run far away from God. Our sin casts a wide shadow affecting everyone and everything, even creation groans. We were once walking in a perfect garden in the cool of the evening. We were literally friends of God. Just like the prince in the show we were changed from the beginning. Now, we await our transformation from lowly broken fruit-eaters to forever-forgiven, earth-bound nomads to permanent dwellers of the inside-out, upside-down magnificent kingdom and from orphans to celestially adopted glory-filled children of the King of Kings. Unfortunately, we have more in common with the self-absorbed, spoiled prince than we ever realized.

“Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away. But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. And when he dismissed her again, the old woman’s ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful Enchantress. The prince tried to apologize, but it was too late for she had seen that there was no love in his heart. As a punishment, she transformed him into a hideous Beast and placed a powerful spell on the castle and all who lived there.”

Original stories have the same root. Eve offered. Adam ate. We sneered at His gift of a relationship with our eternal Father. We were deceived. We often have no love in our hearts. We too have waited. We were separated from God until Jesus. Our transformation from lowly small shattered, damaged furnishings was only possible when He, the innocent one, the perfect one, the cosmic son, the faultless lamb, the flawless sacrifice came and died on a cross. (There is a rose in our story also a different kind of rose.) For us, he rose again breaking the spell of death. He became flesh and bone to save you and to save me. “Once upon a time” is how this story starts. And from the beginning of the show God’s story speaks. We are all in the process of being transformed. We were created to trumpet His grace, to exclaim His glory, to beckon others to come near His side, to reveal His forgiveness to the spoiled, selfish and unkind. This is not just a story about a prince/beast and his true love, no way, this is the story of how we all need to fall to the ground and worship the One who has carved our names in the palms of His hands. He loved us first. As we move toward God, we are forever changed. After an encounter with Him, it is impossible not to be changed.

Transformation is God’s gift to each of us.
 
Posse Ponderings

Can you think of any other lessons from other stories also be found in the Bible?
We know the accounts in the Bible are true. We also know Jesus loved to tell stories to help His friends learn about God. Look up the parables in your Bible. What Jesus was teaching His friends?
(Matthew 13, 18, 20, 21)
 
Scriptures
 
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
“Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.” John 3:5-6 (MSG)