Christmas morning 2010 marked one of the VERY rare occasions that I cried for joy. My husband surprised me with tickets to an August 2011 performance of Les Miserables.
(Quick background: I fell in love with the story when my dad took me to see it as a young girl and have since read the book and owned several soundtracks.)
Totally blindsided by my sweetheart’s thoughtful gift, I burst into an embarrassingly stereotypical female torrent of tears and carrying on. At that point my husband knew he had done the right thing. My boys, on the other hand, were shocked and perplexed by my response and seemed to suspect that their father had chosen something dreadfully wrong for my Christmas present.
A couple of nights ago my husband brought home the 25th anniversary concert performance of Les Miserables (gotta love RedBox) in anticipation of the August event. After the kids were in bed, we settled in to enjoy the show with some tasty beverages, smoked white cheddar & cracked pepper cheese, and hulled fresh strawberries. Perfect.
The musical has a few scenes that always find me feeling conspicuous of my moist, shiny eyes. One such scene marks a turning point in the story—Bishop Myriel takes in the hungry, despised, and desperate ex-con Jean Valjean, showing him love and respect. Valjean responds with treachery, stealing away in the night with the few items of value that the good bishop has not already given away to the poor. When Valjean is caught by the authorities and brought before Bishop Myriel for accusation, the Bishop validates Valjean’s story (that the items were a gift) and chastises him for neglecting to take a pair of silver candlesticks as well. He then sends Valjean on his way with the candlesticks and these parting words,
But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man
By the witness of the martyrs
By the Passion and the Blood
God has raised you out of darkness
I have bought your soul for God!
That last line of the song is a bit theologically painful for me, but moving nonetheless. On the chance that the not-so-promising Valjean might be touched by his kindness and discover the love of God, Bishop Myriel invests his most valuable possessions.
I can’t watch that without wondering…How much of my heart/time/resources/comfort am I willing to risk or invest just to create an opportunity that will give someone the chance to respond to God’s love?
After all, isn’t this God’s approach?
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:24-27
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8