“Be our guest, be our guest
Put our service to the test
Tie your napkin ’round your neck, cherie
And we’ll provide the rest
Soup du jour, hot hors d’oeuvres
Why, we only live to serve
Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious
Don’t believe me, ask the dishes…”
I get reminded of this song that comes to us out of the great Disney Classic “Beauty and the Beast” several times a day… let me explain.
There is a beautiful wooden table that sets just outside the church office door, where we have our coffee station on Sunday mornings. There on that table is a some-what small, kind-of hidden, wooden sign that says, “Be Our Guest.” I walk past this sign probably 20 times a day through-out the week, all the while singing “Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test,” in my most French accent of course.
This, for me, is a great reminder that what I do for Christ or, what we do for Christ, must be great. Great not in the sense that we must perform a musical number with dancing candle sticks and teapots, but great in the sense that what we do matters to people other than ourselves. Like the teapot and candle stick we must go out of our way to create a sense of welcome and comfort; to do this we must go above and beyond where we feel comfortable.
Going out of our comfort zone is hard. Let me repeat that, going out of our comfort zone IS hard. It involves us doing things differently than we are used to. It thrusts us into environments and conversations that may not come natural, especially to introverts like myself. It divulges our weaknesses and strengths. It pushes us to understand that things may change and that we must change with them.
In a conversation that I had this week, I realized that we as a church, as a body of Christ, are changing. Whether change means that our bulletins are changing (they’re not, don’t worry) or the color of the carpet is changing. It may mean that we do away with old stale programing and create new energized programs. It may mean that more things are converted to use our technical advantages rather than printed material. It may mean that we don’t recognize all the faces that fill our pews – this is all change. This is change that forces us to get out of our comfort zones. Sometimes this out-of our-comfort change makes us feel like we are lost, like an outsider in our church. That is a real feeling; a feeling that is not taken lightly.
When this feeling hits us and we feel unable to keep up with the changing times instead of fueling that frustration with negative conversations that do not affirm the will of God, let us offer reaffirming conversations that lead us to understand that each of God’s children are of importance. Simply put, listen to listen, don’t listen to speak. Going farther, instead of saying, “I don’t know anyone here anymore”, our response could be “I’m glad more people are finding a home here.”
By creating a more positive look into the change, whatever it may be, we create a more positive environment. Like that of our friends the candlestick and teapot, they were creating an environment of fun, love, and adventure. Now I’m not saying that church, whatever that word means to you, has always got to be fun and full of adventure; there are very important times in the life of the church that should be held reverent and holy. What I am expressing is the idea of creating a loving and welcoming environment both to the member and to the guest.
The song goes onto say and the lyric that I’ll leave with you, “Life is so unnerving when a servant isn’t serving.” Let us be more affirming to the way that God is calling us to be open to change and say, “Be our Guest.”
Songwriters: Howard Elliott Ashman / Alan Menken
Be Our Guest lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company