Hope for Redemption

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

les misI, for one, am very excited to see the recently released film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic work Les Miserables. Though I have never read the book nor seen the musical, it looks like a very moving story of redemption set to an excellent score with an all star cast of actors. For those interested in getting a taste of what to expect, here is part of a very helpful preview by Mike Cosper (Pastor of Worship and Arts at Sojourn Community Church Louisville KY).

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables was considered a literary powerhouse long before Alain Boubeil and Claude-Michel Schonberg wrote their musical based on the story in 1980. But that production, translated into English a few years later, has been a powerhouse on Broadway and London’s West End for the better part of three decades. On Christmas Day, it [came] to theaters as a major motion picture starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, and an all-star supporting cast

Les Miserables is an intertwining story of characters living in the turmoil of 19th-century France. It’s a story of poverty and affluence, broken dreams, love, and redemption… a corrupt innkeeper and his family, a group of young would-be revolutionaries disgusted with the oppression of the poor, street kids, and young lovers. People who watch the musical say it’s like a “religious experience” and leave the theater emotionally exhausted. Early screenings of the film have enjoyed equally effusive praise, with one Hollywood veteran saying it might be the greatest movie he’s ever seen.

This story resonates for two reasons. First, the audience can identify with a world of tragedy and disappointment. We all feel that sense of grinding sorrow, and wonder if there’s any hope for those who are sick, who suffer injustice, and who long to start anew. We’re all discouraged by the constant onslaught of bad news, and we dream dreams of places where hope is high, life is worth living, and God is merciful.

Second, Les Miserable answers those doubts with hope for redemption. There is a way to start afresh. There is a grace that surpasses, that sets us free from the burdens of our past, and that leads us home to God.

And while Les Miserables provides a vague answer, how beautiful that it’s releasing on Christmas Day, when that grace is announced to the world so clearly! Jesus endured the grinding struggles of the world, born in a stable, hunted by evil men, and suffering alongside (and ultimately for) us. He not only announced a hope for redemption, but he also single-handedly accomplished it for us.

In the light of the gospel, a story like Les Miserables isn’t simply uplifting; it’s a call to remember how great a salvation we have.

“In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” – Ephesians 1:7 (ESV)



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