Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2023 Blog #18
May 1, 2023
Bergenfield High School Beauty and the Beast
This past Friday evening I had the privilege of spending time at Bergenfield High School. I hadn’t been in the building for a while and it was a joy to be there once again. The occasion was the first musical production that the high school had performed in forty years. It was the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast.
I have seen the animated Disney version of this story before. No one with kid my daughter’s ages could have avoided the Disney version of this. However, this is the first time that I have seen a stage version. It was magnificent.
Bergenfield High School showed an incredible amount of talent among its students. The singing, dancing, acting, costumes and music all showed an amount of professionalism that I have rarely seen in high school performances. The audience was in awe and enjoyed the performance tremendously. The story, however, was rather simple and one that we all would benefit from remembering.
A pompous prince becomes a beast because of his scorn and lack of hospitality toward someone that he looks down upon. Another pompous man does actions of violence when he can’t get what he wants and lures simple-minded followers to join him in acts of violence. Both of these men, who are full of themselves, do destructive actions because they are self-centered.
One man, the prince, is cursed by isolation but is eventually redeemed and the life-style that he once had is restored. The other, Gaston, comes to an untimely death from activities that he himself put into motion.
What caused the different endings for these two equally self-centered men? It was redeeming love. The prince, who became a beast, ultimately learned to love someone other than himself and this love of another, transformed him away from being a beast to becoming the man he had been, and was intended to be.
Oh, how valuable this simple lesson is for us whether or not we are in the community of faith. Self-centeredness causes pain and suffering to us, as well as to those around us. How we treat those around us effects our own well-being. Jesus said it best. He told us to love God first and to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. When we fail to do this we have taken the first steps toward becoming beasts ourselves.
I applaud the fine work of the students, staff and alumni of Bergenfield High School for the fine production that I saw and enjoyed. I do hope and pray that all who were in the audience learned the lesson of the performance and lives the lesson out in their daily lives. What a great community we will live in if we learn that lesson.
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