Kim and I had a wonderful date tonight. First, we had dinner at the Olive Garden, courtesy of a friend. Then we enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and talked about the power of the good news of Jesus Christ to get to the root of our hearts and transform us from the inside out. Oh how we love to relish in the gospel together. That's what first attracted us to one another, and that's what's still the glue and fire of our relationship, praise be to God.
Then we decided to go see the new version of Les Miserables starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crow, and Anne Hathway, among others. Wow. Except for one scene that was unnecessarily long and a little too graphic at one point, this version was very powerful. Without going into too many details, it is the story of the redemption of a man who went to prison for a relatively minor crime but then spent many more years there due to repeated attempts at escape, etc. He finally gets out on life-time parole, but ends up stealing some things from a man who promptly forgives him and blesses him with even more than he stole. This act of mercy changes Jean Valjean's life. He himself becomes a successful and merciful man, but one who has also fled from his parole and is thus trying to escape from his past. He has changed his identity, and God has changed his heart, but his predicament gives rise to much drama--you simply must see the movie!
I already posted these to Facebook, but I just can't help myself, I have to re-post here two of my favorite songs from the play/movie. My favorite song is entitled Bring Him Home. Jean Valjean, the redeemed man, is praying for a young man who is in love with his "adopted" daughter, Cosette, and who is in immanent danger of death by war. Just after singing the song, he saves the young man's life and delivers him home so that he can "live happily ever after" with Cosette, which he does. This turn of events is a fruit of the biblical truth that "mercy triumphs over judgment," that redemption gives rise to acts of redemption. And praise be to God that this truth is more than a twist or turn in a movie. Through Jesus Christ, God has made a way for true and eternal redemption in our lives, the kind that causes us to become redemptive people.
My next favorite song is entitled Who Am I? I don't like the song itself so much, it's a little choppy and awkward at points, but it encapsulates a masterful moral moment in the story. Jean Valjean has, it seems, escaped from his former life and has become a blessing to others, however, another man is mistaken for him and is now facing judgment in his place. If Jean Valjean confesses that he's the true offender (the one who forsook parole), he will certainly go back to prison and consign his workers to many hardships. But if he does not confess, then he's damned because he then willingly allows another to unwillingly suffer in his place. Thus the question, Who Am I? It's a profound one given the context.
I want to bring this post to an end by saying, once more, that redemption is not just a theme in a fictional story, it is a living and eternal reality in Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what I mean, check out the real "Story" of life here.