I knew that grace was showcased in Les Miserables, the latest blockbuster released on Christmas day, but I didn’t know just how much. We went with a large cohort to see a matinee yesterday afternoon.
The movie is based on the musical which began its run on Broadway in 1987 and ran until 2003, the fourth longest running Broadway play of all time. Victor Hugo wrote the novel in 1862 on which the play itself was based, and it is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century.
Diane and I spent a memorable night in Chicago seeing Les Mis, probably 15 years ago. It was only memorable because our seats were so awful, the very definition of nosebleed. We also went in unfamiliar with the songs and storyline (not recommended for musicals), and found ourselves scratching our heads most of the expensive night.
Anyway, Les Mis is the story of Jean Valjean, a man sentenced to 19 years hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread to feed starving relatives. Every preacher worth his salt has told the story of an early scene from the tale, where Valjean, upon his release, finds shelter in the home of a bishop and returns the favor by stealing silver from the kind and godly man. He is caught by the gendarmes, and brought to the bishop, whereupon, the man shocks the police and Valjean, by saying (from the novel):
“Ah! here you are!” he exclaimed, looking at Jean Valjean. “I am glad to see you. Well, but how is this? I gave you the candlesticks too, which are of silver like the rest, and for which you can certainly get two hundred francs. Why did you not carry them away with your forks and spoons?”
It is a tremendous display of grace, and the bishop later tells the criminal Valjean that he has bought his soul for God – use this incident to go and become an honest man. He does indeed, and we witness the power of grace to transform (see Titus 3:7, 8).
Now what I didn’t know (because I hadn’t read the novel and the nosebleed seats were no help) is that the power of grace is all throughout the story, and most wonderfully set against the harsh taskmaster known as law. In short, I don’t know if I’ve seen a more “Christian” movie in years.
I wonder if Sacha Baron Cohen realized it.
Mark Vande Zande
January 1, 2013 at 7:40 am
Good morning Roger, glad to see you back at writing. Hope that you had a great vacation and have a safe drive home.
January 1, 2013 at 9:27 am
Thanks Mark! We get in late Wed and may have some shoveling to do from what I’ve heard, but still hope to see you Thursday.
January 1, 2013 at 7:44 am
Les Miz is my all-time favorite play. I’ve seen it at least four times – I think we had the same nosebleed seats in Chicago as you did! I went to the movie last week and I can’t wait to go again. There is truly a lot of grace given to many in the movie. I agree with you that it is best to be familiar with the music before going. I think it increases the enjoyment of the whole experience.
January 1, 2013 at 9:20 am
Great to hear from you, Margie! How are you doing lately? I’m with you – can’t wait to see it again.
January 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm
Thank you for the helpful comment
January 4, 2013 at 2:20 am
Sue & I went to see Les Miserables a couple of days ago. We had planned on seeing it, and the day before going, we came across your comments on the movie. It is amazing how grace and forgiveness are never-ending themes throughout the entire movie! As we left and were on our way to a restaurant to eat, I turned on a CD in the car, and the song “Sow Mercy” began playing — wow! — tied right into the movie. The words are “Sow mercy, sow grace, sow kindness, sow faith….” Maybe I will send you a copy of the song.
January 6, 2013 at 11:19 pm
Went to see the movie today, yes-yes, grace, forgiveness and mercy throught the movie. I’m going to see this again, perhaps my eyes won’t be almost swollen shut from crying next time. I got so pulled into this movie, I almost stood up, when the flag was flying and they were singing the song about their revolution.