“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭36:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I had the opportunity to see Beauty and the Beast with friends this evening. I loved the 1991 animated Disney feature and have been excited to see this live action recreation for at least a year.

Sometimes, when you’ve anticipated a movie for that long, the reality falls far short of your hopes. I’m so very happy to say that this was NOT the case this time. The movie was every bit as enchanting and beautiful as I’d hoped it would be.

As a pastor, I tend to watch movies with one eye trained to see any glimpses of the Gospel that might occur. You’d be amazed how very often theological moments show up in film.

And I found myself deeply touched by the message of the transformative power of love in this movie. When Belle declares her love for the Beast, everything changes. The beast himself becomes human again, and the ruined, frozen wreck of his castle is restored to wholeness as the shimmering rays of the sun bathe it it golden light.

I admit it – I was moved to tears. It was an Easter Sunday moment. When love – the self-sacrificing love of Jesus – overcame the power of sin and death forever.

This Lent, may you know the transformative power of God’s love as embodied by Jesus, who is the Christ. May you journey through the sometimes dark and frozen days, with the confidence that Easter Sunday is coming…and it changes everything.

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