Like all good movies, musicals and books, there is a preview, or a trailer.
And today is it.
Next week we start our series on Les Mis.
But today the sneak preview – the scene setter.
We are going to watch a short scene from Les Mis now.
It comes pretty earlier in the movie/ musical, and doesn’t contain any of the great songs.
They are for the next few weeks
It’s the encounter between Myriel, the Bishop of Digne and Jean Valejean.
In the novel, it says of the Bishop that
Altogether, [the Bishop’s dwelling, humbly furnished], which was attended to by the two women, was exquisitely clean from top to bottom. This was the sole luxury which the Bishop permitted. He said, “That takes nothing from the poor.”
It must be confessed, however, that he still retained from his former possessions six silver knives and forks and a soup-ladle, which Madame Magloire contemplated every day with delight, as they glistened splendidly upon the coarse linen cloth. ..
To this silverware must be added two large candlesticks of massive silver, which he had inherited from a great-aunt. These candlesticks held two wax candles, and usually figured on the Bishop’s chimney-piece. When he had any one to dinner, Madame Magloire lit the two candles and set the candlesticks on the table.
Valjean is recently released on parole, and heading from place to place
to find work, food, or lodgings.
And so our scene for today …
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKPlDfARxes (this one is the scene from the 1978 movie, not from the more recent movie version of the musical)
The novel is about 530,00 words.
It is one of the 20 longest novels ever written.
The novel and the musical are set over 17 years,
and have all sorts of twists and turns in a complicated plot.
So the story is about a prisoner who lost much of his early life for stealing a loaf of bread
It is about a woman who is forced into prostitution to provide for her daughter
It is about a love story between a young rich student and a teenage girl
It is about a morally-driven and obsessed police inspector.
It is about a political revolution led by young men who are wanting a new society
But – ultimately – the story is about this scene and its implications
It is about a bishop who loves others with an absolute generosity of grace
and who, because he did this one act, changed hundreds of lives.
It is about a person who acted the way that Christ acted
It is about a person who acted the way that we could all act.
The revolution in the story is the revolution of grace
It is a simple story, with consequences that just keep going
Simply, the bishop showed Jean Valjean the love of Christ
and it is that same love which transforms Valjean into the sort of man
who would provide dignity and medical care for Fantine, a dying prostitute,
who would adopt her daughter, Cosette, and rescue her from child abuse and neglect,
who would save the life of a young revolutionary,
and who would create jobs and livelihood for an entire community.
This congregation is built on the grace of God. Nothing else.
One of the foundational statements of Kippax as a congregation says
We contribute to the life of our community through acts of service
as a response to God’s love for us.
AGMs are good times to remember the heart of grace that is our foundation.And they are times to celebrate the amazing privilege we have
to be part of the ongoing chain of events in this world
that come from the wonder of grace that has been shown to us.