John and I went to the Leitersburg Theatre yesterday where we watch Les Misérables. We had attempted to view the movie last week; however, due to the popularity of the film, we couldn’t get in to attend. The film was well worth the wait; I recommend that you watch this movie or rent an earlier version of Les Mis.
As we watched the movie, I was appalled at the similarities between life in France for the everyday people in the 1800s and with the similarity to life in 21st century USA. The poor in France were oppressed by the king, the law, and the wealthy business owners who were determined to keep the poor in an impoverished state, filled with fear of the militia so that they wouldn’t rise up against an oppressive power structure. Today, we have the 99% who are calling attention to oppressive living conditions in our country and to the power structures that seek to keep division between our citizens.
My heart broke as I listened to Fontaine sing about having to sell her possessions (her hair, teeth, and body) so that she could support her daughter. I was filled with compassion as John Valjean stole bread in order so his starving nephew could eat, only to spend 19 years in prison for his crime.
Throughout the movie, I witnessed sacrificial love; the sacrifice of oneself so that another may live. I believe God’s Holy Spirit was working through Victor Hugo as he wrote Les Mis. Hugo’s portrayal of sacrificial love was a metaphor of God’s sacrifice as God emptied God’s self to come into the world as God’s son; God’s son that would offer himself as sacrifice to the Roman Empire so that the wrath of the Empire wouldn’t befall Jerusalem.
At the end of the movie was a flashback to the beginning where a Priest showed God’s love to Jean Valjean in keeping Jean from being arrested for stealing. It was this act of kindness, this act of being God’s loving servant, that allowed Jean Valjean to grow into a man who cared for Fontaine’s daughter and to sacrifice himself so that his adopted daughter could be with the man she loved. The movie ended by saying that
“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
As we look around us and see the inequities, the injustices, and the oppression that are apparent in our country and in many others, what is that we are called to sacrifice so that others may live with their basic needs met? What do we need to do so that we see God in the people that we meet?
With much love and many blessings,