Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

20130104-183942.jpg We went to see Les Miserables today.

I thought I was doing well in managing my emotions until Jean Val Jean died in the arms of his daughter, and then the final lyrics hit me:

Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the earth
there is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end
and the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom
in the garden of the Lord.
They will walk behind the ploughshare;
they will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken
and all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
when tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
when tomorrow comes…
Tomorrow comes!

There is something about the moment of letting go of life and taking hold of a dream that got me when I first saw the stage version, and got to me again as I sat in a darkened theatre with my family.

The storyline is rich and profound with the theme of grace running throughout, but for the first time I heard the lyrics of the song, “look down” and realised how the theme of the struggle for the humanisation of the underclass is such and important part of the musical.

I loved the moment when young Gavroche teased the posh aristocrats and the cast sang:

Look down, look down, and see the beggars at your feet
Look down and show some mercy if you can
Look down and see
The sweepings of the streets
Look down, look down,
Upon your fellow man!

In my quiet time yesterday I was struck at how blatantly Jesus commanded his followers not to let any one of their number get put on a pedestal:

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8-12)

We human beings tend to naturally fall into a pecking order where some of us get valued more than others. We do it in Christian circles just as much as the world does… we have our super pastors and worship leaders, our authors and speakers. Jesus reminds us that none of us is in a position to be an expert, we are all brothers and sisters.

Its tempting to want to fight for the limelight, to be the one that everyone looks to, to be someone. That motivation, though, never seems to bring life.

The power of Les Miserables is that one who was thought to be nothing becomes something and one who was thought to be something becomes nothing.

The gospel is the great reversal. It is the news that those they think they have it all, in fact have nothing, and those who think they have nothing, in fact have it all…. It was these thoughts that meant I was choking back tears as the cast sang:

For the wretched of the earth
there is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end
and the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom
in the garden of the Lord.
They will walk behind the ploughshare;
they will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken
and all men will have their reward.

Les Miserables is a movie worth seeing!

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