I can be a fairly big reader, when I want to be, and I’ve been working diligently on reading Les Miserables and I love that story (I’ve watched the movie an infinite number of times) and the way that the gospel is interwoven through it. I want to go back in time and talk with Victor Hugo about this book, ask him questions, find out why he was inspired to write this wonderful, and long, novel. I’d ask him if he saw himself more as Javert, or as Valjean, or if both were a part of him. Ideally, I’d hope to be like Valjean, well, kinda like Valjean.
The beauty of grace is seen throughout this novel. Valjean is a hardened criminal, sentenced to nineteen years hard labor after stealing a loaf of bread because he was starving. Prison life was what he was accustomed to when he left, and he had a hard time finding shelter on his way to report, and someone pointed him to the door of a kind, old priest, the local bishop. (Earlier in the book, you learn the bishop, unlike a lot of clergy, wasn’t corrupt, but gave all his wealth away so that he could be a part of his flock. He ate meager meals, often without meat, and the people respected him.) So the bishop goes out of his way to set the table as though the pope were visiting and he even pulled out his handsome silver candlesticks. The next day, the silverware is gone. When Valjean is confronted with the priest, the priest hands him the candlesticks, and lets him keep the silver. I know me. I would be hard pressed to give someone I barely knew all the wealth that I had left, but this is a changing point for Valjean, when he learns the beauty of grace and the value of mercy.
We would probably call the police if this story happened today. We wouldn’t let a stranger sleep on a comfortable bed, and we wouldn’t pull out our finest dishes for him. Psh! We’d freak out because a stranger asked us for something outside our comfort zone. And then I remembered that Jesus taught us to give water to the thirsty, to care for the widows and orphans, to look after those around us.
Perhaps we are all* missing the point of living godly lives. Perhaps it’s not having a job that let’s you save up infinite amounts of money and allows you to live in a comfortable home. Maybe it is going out of your comfort zone doing something for a less fortunate person. Why is it that people who do not claim Christianity do this better than the followers of Christ? My generation is filled with passionate people. Movements to help others are all around, and yet Christians are behind the curve in EVERY AREA of life (or so it seems… Don’t even get me started on the subculture… er… not again anyway)
Dear God, I hope I learn to use my passions for your glory and not my own. and I hope to become more of Valjean or Pere Bienvenu and less like Javert. love, me.
After I went to Germany in college, I was bit by the “American Christianity can die” bug. Why? Because I met people who saw the value of grace and the beauty of mercy and lived it on a daily basis. When I read about Mother Teresa as a young girl, I was in awe of how she handled the outcasts in a society that wasn’t even her own. She was the picture of love to those orphans. Do we need to be another Mother Teresa? No. But! We should all find our passions and work on reachin’ others. It may be that you’re a gamer. You can be the love of Christ to gamers and show them the value of mercy and grace and they can pass it on to other gamers and before you know it, a revolution has started within that game.** That’s just an idea…. but anyways…
I think my blog just went crazy. So to save you from more insanity, I’m gonna go (and grab breakfast )
*you don’t have to take this hyperbole literally. It is more like a general statement. Just sayin’ that a majority of American Christians are this way…
**Sorry if I come across “preachy”… I’m in one of those moods