Sunday, January 13, 2013

Les Miserables

I was transfixed by Les Miserables. I couldn't even eat my snacks, I almost felt like munching would have been disrespectful. I still haven't figured out why. I know some who hated the film. I guess I didn't hate it because it was more than a film to me,

It did something to me.

I am not a huge fan of musicals.To be honest, I didn't even know Les Miserables was a musical until ten minutes before the show and Kristie's friend told me.

Something happened. I still haven't sorted it out. Grace? Redemption? The hurt of thinking you are following God's will by demanding the rules and then grace forcing the issue to a breaking point? The people in the movie I seem to know and am so close to being the same?

All I can lift out of the pile of gold right now is Jean Valjean's repeated question, "Who am I?"

Who am I?

How did Jean Valjean have the courage to go places others didn't go, to give time and even his life? What made him brave to rescue Marius, without Cosette knowing? How did he have the strength to free Javert, the one person who could ruin him?

Who am I?

The answer lies somewhere in answering this. It is the same place for you and me. For our children. How does anyone have the courage to do ridiculous things like adopt a prostitute's child? Like disregarding personal danger to rescue another? Like loving the unlovely?

"Who am I?" is the major question adolescents must answer, according to Erik Erikson. Identity development being one of his stages of growth and development, an answer that lets you move on in life. "Who am I?" is as relevant in real life as in Les Miserables.
"He gave me hope when hope was gone,
He gave me strength to  journey on."

Who was Jean Valjean? A sinner, even though the sin that got him in trouble was stealing bread to feed poor relatives. But, he knew when he took the candlesticks of a gracious priest, he knew then that his heart was dark.

But, Jean Valjean was rescued by grace. That grace changed him. He began to pour grace on others, to love. While remaining a sinner, he was changed, changed by grace and giving grace. There is confusion even today for the sinner who is saved by grace, because the struggle of who I really am continues.

Who was Jean Valjean? What did he know about himself, in spite of his constant confusion, that gave him the courage to do great things in lives?

He knew he was a sinner. But, he knew he was rescued and given a new life by grace.
He simply wanted to give that grace to someone else because of what was given him.
He risked the good life, and life itself, to love others in need.
He had courage to do right when others didn't because he knew what had been done for him.

May our children know their darkness. And, that God gives grace putting sin far away through Jesus. That God will rescue them and change them. The greatness of that grace.
May that reality be theirs and give them the courage to love because of what is done for them, as Jean Valjean did.

Who am I? A sinner, saved by grace, like Jean Valjean.
Now what?

"We love, because He first loved us."
1 John 4:19

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