Here is my most recent article submitted for the County Weekly News.
Since I worked at a live theatre for 10 years I have seen countless stage productions. With all of the productions I have seen and particularly musicals Les Misérables far exceeds them all as my personal favourite. I have seen it a few times and find the music powerful and the story line engaging. I still prefer the live production but I must admit the characters and storyline took on a whole new depth and meaning when I watched the recently released movie.
There is no denying that this is a story about redemption and the power of grace. In the movie after nearly 20 years of imprisonment Jean Valjean (convicted of stealing a loaf of bread) is released. He is required to carry papers stating he is a former prisoner. With these papers in hand there is no chance for him to find work or shelter and as a result he is basically dying on the streets cold and hungry. That is when a priest finds him, invites him in, and provides him with warmth and shelter. However, in desperation Valjean steals some silver pieces from the priest. It is not long before the authorities nab him and take him back to the scene of the crime. This is the point of grace. The priest tells the authorities that he freely gave the silver to him and even offers him his best silver candle sticks as well.
Valjean could easily have been put back in prison and forced to spend the rest of his life as an imprisoned slave. However, that act of grace, a free gift, undeserved, given to him, changes his life. He becomes a respected business man running a factory that hires many and aims to treat them well. The rest of his life is spent extending grace to others. From using his strength to save an injured man, to taking in and caring for the orphaned Cosette, to sparing the life of Jalvert the officer who pursued him and chased him for years.
In this story one act of grace has a powerful and life-long impact on one person and from there impacts many others. This is an example to all of us of the potential difference we can make in the life of another by extending human grace. However, the act of grace we may receive from another person does not even compare to the grace that God extends to us. What is Godís grace? I donít even pretend to have a full grasp and understanding of all that it is and all that it encompasses. I do know this - that through Godís love and grace I receive forgiveness, and a new life in Jesus Christ. I know that Godís grace is available to all of us, his grace is free, and his grace is a gift. No one, not one of us deserves this gift but it is still available. It is not a gift I earn by good works or good deeds all I need to do is accept and receive. Why does God extend such grace? The answer is simple Ė He loves us.
In the end Les Misérables is just a well written and intriguing story about love, grace and redemption that pulls at our emotions and heart strings and momentarily impacts our lives. In contrast, Godís love, grace and redemption is not just a story, it is real, and it is true, and it will change your life forever.
Sonrise Christian Academy