Beauty and the Beast

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us:
and establish the work of our hands upon us . . .”
Psalm 90:17

The recent release of the full length film Beauty and the Beast got me thinking about our approach to the faith and to one another. While I haven’t seen the recent movie, I know the basic premise, and believe the film can be a good analogy for us to ponder and consider. Our appearance at church often shows the “beauty” of our life and our relationship with others, but is there an inner beast lurking inside of us?

Let’s examine our approach to Sunday Divine Liturgy. How do we prepare for Church on Sunday mornings? Are we constantly reminding our children to hurry so we are not late? Or are we not even concerned whether we arrive on time to enter into the “Kingdom”? Do we have the radio and TV blasting to ensure we do not miss anything important? Do we scan our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts before rushing to the car? Do we use our rare time together as a family while driving to church to complain about the children’s messy rooms, to publically declare that we hope the sermon this week isn’t too long, or worse, ride in silence while everyone texts their friends to make plans for the afternoon?

It is our responsibility as parents, godparents, grandparents to ensure the rich Orthodox Faith, handed down from the time of the Apostles, continues. We must express the beauty of the Lord in all of our interactions, but at a minimum in our approach to participation in the Divine Liturgy – the work of the people. We don’t prepare for a final exam at school or a presentation in front of our boss at work by rushing around at the last minute, sending a few tweets to our friends, and then just showing up. It requires preparation, concentration, and focus on the goal. Can we not use our time traveling to church to read the pre-communion prayers or the Matins Resurrectional Gospel of the day? Can we not encourage our families to turn off their phones on Sunday mornings or even leave them at home? Can we not use this time, as we prepare to receive the very body and blood of Jesus Christ, to tame our inner beast? And through these simple acts to allow the “beauty of the Lord” to be “upon us” and our families, and to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days” of our lives.

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