Winterville United Methodist Church

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

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March 27, 2017 “The Test of Time”

When I was in school and studying works of literature I learned the definition of a classic as “something that withstands the test of time.”  I am convinced—classic or not—that a good love story will stand the test of time!

My daughter grew up watching the animated Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.  She loved it so much and watched it so often that any member of the household could sing the songs.  We discovered in our sleep images of dancing teapots and teacups and candelabras and clocks from having seen the movie so often during the day.

Beauty and the Beast is reborn in a new version and is currently playing on the big screen.  No doubt it will capture the imagination of many additional generations of children and moms and dads. 

The story has that poignant mix of the struggle and suffering of a beast locked away in a hidden castle by a spell cast upon him combined with the hope and possibility for a new life made possible should someone come and love him.  Belle, of course, is the beautiful young girl who over time comes to love the Beast despite his gruesome exterior.  She is able to look into his heart to discover something there that is gentle and lovable.  In addition she is moved by how he comes rushing to her aid when she is threatened by wolves lurking in the forest or by how he wards off Gastón who wants to capture her and make her a pretty armpiece to support his narcissistic personality.

At this time of year we particularly focus our attention on a different kind of love story.  It is a classic, for certainly it has withstood the test of time. 

It is a story that began with a motley group of followers who saw in their friend something that captured their imagination.  They walked with him, listened to his stories, witnessed amazing things that he did for persons in the world around them. 

Finally, they walked with him to a lonely spot on the outskirts of town.  It was there that there saw him suffer and die an agonizing death on a cross.  It was because he loved them that he willingly laid down his own life.  It was because he loved them that he chose not his own path through life but rather chose God’s path. 

It’s a love story like no other.  The motley group of followers first told the story, but generation after generation after generation has done the same.  Finally, the story comes down to us.  Will we tell the story so that generations beyond ourselves will treasure it as well?

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