When our daughter, Shelby, was just a toddler, she became enthralled with the movie Beauty and the Beast. She wore that old VHS tape out, watching the movie over and over as a part of our nightly routine and memorizing the lyrics to all the songs by the time she was three.
One of my favorite scenes from the film is that moment shortly after Belle arrives at the old castle, catching Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, and the rest of the house staff by surprise. They have not received a guest in over a decade and at first stumble over themselves at the sight of someone from the outside world. It does not take long, though, for their instincts to kick in and remember their purpose. They are the master's servants, employed to ensure that everyone feels warmly welcomed by extending extravagant hospitality and treating the guest to nothing but the best. And so, they break out all the fine china, prepare a feast featuring the most tantalizing dishes, and invite Belle to "Be Our Guest." At one point in their preparations, we hear Lumiere singing:
Life is so unnerving for a servant who's not serving,
He's not whole without a soul to wait upon.
This weekend in worship, we will take up the theme of hospitality as we continue our message series, Losing Ourselves on Purpose. Sometimes in the church, hospitality is treated as a specialized ministry...only those who are greeters or ushers or hosts or staff or experts are responsible. The gospels send a different message, though. As followers of Christ, we are all servants in the employment of a gracious master. We should always be prepared for guests, and every one of us has a role to play in helping them feel warmly welcomed. Best of all, we get to invite them to the feast where we all experience the amazing love of God. Are your instincts kicking in?
See you Sunday!