Luke 24: 13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[f] from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.[g] 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.
22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us[k] while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
(Sing) “Tale as Old as Time, Song as True as Rhymn, Beauty and the Beast.”
One of my all time favorite bad movies is Ice Castles, I’ll watch it when I’m down. It’s a romantic teen film from the 1980’s and it is about a female ice skater who falls and goes almost completely blind. Now I’m sure you are wondering how this relates back to Beauty and the Beast. But the male lead and love interest is played by Robby Benson. And this movie is so bad it’s good. And it’s not the acting. It’s things towards the end of the film, the Ice Skater has managed to hide from everyone but her boy friend, coach and family that she is blind. And she Ice Skates by counting her movements to get from one side to the other, and not by sight. And at the end of the film, she does it! She does this amazing performance. And people start throwing flowers and bears onto the ice for her. And the camera cuts to her perspective which is just sort of fuzzy shapes. And you can see the red of the roses being thrown on the ice. But she “doesn’t see” them and she falls. And Robby Benson rushes out to help her, and says, “we forgot about the flowers!” and then they smile. And the movie ends. It’s beautifully corny and bad. I love watching this movie for fun, and Zach passed the boyfriend test when he was kind enough to watch it with me when we were dating. I actually own the DVD. Now this is relevant because Robby Benson voiced the Beast in the animated film. And in a mirror reflection of one of the major themes of Beauty and the Beast, his outward appearance and other’s preconceived notions of him almost prevented him from getting the job.
From Tale As Old As Time: The Art and Making of Disney Beauty and the Beast by Charles Solomon, “Casting the voice of Beast provided singularly difficult. Audiences expect a lovely heroine or a handsome prince to sound a certain way, but what does a beast sound like? “The first voices we tried were all Darth Vader, deep, guttural ones that sounded like an animal and seemed natural to go to with Beast,” says Glen. “But Jeffery pointed out it didn’t feel like there was a twenty-year-old guy in there for Belle to fall in love with….We went through a very long audition process…The directors spent several worrisome weeks not knowing who their leading man would be. One day, Albert, who had been auditioning more actors, brough in a tape that he reluctantly told Kirk and Gary was from Robby Benson, an actor who was known at the time for playing earnest, sensitive heroes. ‘We looked at him kind of cross-eyed and said, ‘Robby Benson? Ice Castles Robby Benson?’ Kick recalls. But his tape just blew us away. His voice had an amazing combination of vulnerability and anger. The first time we heard it, we said ‘I can hear the human being inside the animal….So we cut it against some visuals and played it for Jeffery. He liked it, but when we told him who it was, he did the exact same thing: ‘Ice Castles Robby Benson.’…Robby had an amazing voice and did a beautiful job. ‘ Robby’s acting abilities over came any negative image that may have clung to him from Ice Castles, but the studio kept his name under wrap.”
From Tale As Old As Time: The Art and Making of Disney Beauty and the Beast by Charles Solomon, “Beauty and the Beast really is a tale as old as times.’ Scholars trace the story back to the legend of Cupid and Psyche, says producer Don Hahn. “It’s the Frog Prince, it’s the ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ It’s a story that exists in every culture, from Japan to Native Americans….The earliest story with strong similarities to “Beauty and the Best” appears in The Golden Ass, the second-century work by Lucius Apuleius….but Apuleius’ account was based on an earlier Greek text that is now lost, and the true origin of the story is unknow.” Beauty and the Beast is the first animated film that was ever nominated for Best Picture. It is a powerful story.
“Hospitality is a gift that manifests G-d’s grace on a very human level, but unfortunately, it has often been neglected in our modern fast-paced culture. Hospitality requires time and emotional strength, and too often, people are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
Hospitality is something confused with entertaining, but the two are very different, as Karen Mains has pointed out in her book Open Heart, Open Home. Entertaining is an exercise that often serves to flatter the host and hostess—to show off their home, their fine furnishings, their elegant table settings, and their delectable dinner. It is a courtesy that repays a favor or that seeks to win a favor.
Hospitality, on the other hand, is a gift- a giving of oneself. It is not self-serving. Rather, it seeks to focus attention on the guest- to meet the needs of an individual who may never be able to return the favor. The etiquette of hospitality is not found in the glossy pages of women’s magazines. It is not concerned with the precise color coordinations, a polished silver service, or the choicest cuts of meats. Its guidelines are found in the Bible and Jesus is the ultimate role model.
Karen Mains, whose husband for many years was a Chicago inner-city pastor, has not only written about hospitality but she practices it as a gift. Her ministry of hospitality has been forced on people who are very often unable to reciprocate. “For ten years my husband and I have lived in Chicago’s inner city or close to it,” she writes. “We have immersed our lives in the need and problems of its inhabitants. Ours is a fractured society much in need of healing…Christ’s ministry to this impoverished, captive…and oppressed world must, in one way or another, also be ours.”
It has been largely through this gift of hospitality that Karen and David Mains have served so effectively in the inner city. They have selflessly opened their home and reached out in love with the message of Jesus to those who most needed their attention, and in doing so have been repaid by the satisfaction that they were properly exercising their G-d- given gifts.”
Ruth A. Tucker, Stories of Faith
Though if we are honest, we have some work to do in the hospitality department. There is always room to grow. Making sure that when we come to Church that we get to know them and their names. Spend some time with them. Invite them to lunch…And as a whole, the Church universal has been inhospitable to different groups of people. Women for a significant amount of it’s history, but more recently to the LGBTQIA community. We have picked and choosed what scriptures to quote. We have been inhospitable and unkind. As a Church, one of my favorite things we do is apologize to members of the LGBTQIA community at pride. But I think even we can keep working on this, working on always using people’s correct pronouns, advocating more.
And I know I have preached on this before. But there is a reason I want to bring it up this Sunday. I want to read to you from an article entitled, “Be Our Guest.”
The new documentary ‘Howard’ captures the life of late Disney songwriting great Howard Ashman, who wrote the lyrics for ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ and ‘Aladdin.’
Updated May. 03, 2018 8:12PM ET Published Apr. 30, 2018 12:00AM ET
At the 1992 Academy Awards, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast claimed the trophy for Best Original Song, surprising no one. Three out of the category’s five nominees that year were Broadway-inspired ballads and showstoppers (“Belle,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Be Our Guest”) from the animated fairy tale, with music composed by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman. Liza Minnelli, the award’s co-presenter, wore a red ribbon pinned to her breast as she congratulated Menken, who took to the stage alone. Little loops of red adorned many stars that night, silent reminders of the AIDS epidemic decimating the gay community. Menken wore one as he thanked Angela Lansbury, Celine Dion, and a handful more on Ashman’s behalf.
On him, it bore extra weight: Complications from the disease had killed Ashman, his songwriting partner and friend, eight months before the film’s release. It was then that Bill Lauch, Ashman’s surviving partner, appeared at Menken’s side and calmly said aloud what the ribbons could not: “This is the first Academy Award given to someone we’ve lost to AIDS.” He and Ashman, the prolific and brilliant lyricist behind The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Shop of Horrors, had shared a home and a life together, he explained. And Ashman had been lucky: He had lived his final months in an atmosphere of love and support, “something everyone facing AIDS not only needs, but deserves.”… The lyrics Ashman wrote for “The Mob Song” resonate darkly in this context, especially played over footage of real-life crowds bearing signs condemning AIDS victims as subjects of God’s punishment: “We don’t like what we don’t / Understand and in fact it scares us / And this monster is mysterious at least,” villagers sing as they march toward Beast’s castle. Lauch calls the song a “perfect manifestation of people seeking a scapegoat for their troubles and identifying a villain and wanting to exterminate it.”
Others, including Disney Theatrical Group’s Thomas Schumacher, go so far as to call it “an AIDS metaphor, done in a time when I don’t even know if the creators were aware that they were creating it.”… a dedication at the end of Beauty and the Beast is addressed to Ashman, the man who reinvigorated Disney’s animation studios and inspired a new era of musicals—one now coming full circle back to the stories he and Menken told through song: “To our friend, Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful.”
And on behalf of the Church universal, I’m sorry we didn’t do more to raise funds for AIDS research. I am sorry to how we let you down and we will vow to do better.
(How AIDS Shaped ‘Beauty and the Beast’: Remembering Disney Songwriting Genius Howard Ashman
BE OUR GUEST)