The Universal Appeal of Grace

les_miserables-1Last Sunday I got to preach on one of my all time favorite movies…Les Miserables (2012).  I’m relatively new to the story having never seen the musical or read the book.  Growing up in Hohenwald we didn’t read books with titles we couldn’t pronounce.  And musicals were for sissies.

I’ve since become more open to things like this, or perhaps I’ve just become a sissy.  Either way I went to the movie and loved every minute of it.  The power of the lyrics.  The emotion of the singing.  The depth of the story.  All made it great!  I walked out of the theatre and told Jenny “I could walk back in right now and watch the whole thing again.”

So in the intro to my sermon I was talking about how much I liked the movie and why.  It was because of the overarching story of grace and redemption.  The movie is absolutely packed with Christian themes!  I even declared that “you can’t really understand this movie apart from a Christian worldview.”

Afterwards, one of my friends challenged that statement.  She said, “Actually, it’s something you can understand apart from a Christian worldview.  That’s what makes the movie so appealing.  It gives the story its power.  Everyone can relate regardless of background.”  That’s not a direct quote but it’s close.  And she’s right!

You don’t need a “Christian worldview” to find meaning in grace.  That’s what makes it so appealing.  It touches the heart of all who experience it.  No special wisdom or insider knowledge is required.  In fact, by telling people beforehand that they couldn’t understand it without sharing “my worldview” I effectively limited its impact.

So I took that phrase out of the next message.  Grace can stand on its own.  It transcends culture, worldview and religion.  That’s why Victor Hugo’s story continues to endure.  It speaks to our heart in a language we can all understand.  And perhaps there’s an important lesson for the church here.  Sometimes we just need to be quiet and let the story of grace speak for itself.

If you want to hear the rest of my thoughts on Les Miserables you can go here.  Or just watch the movie!  It preaches itself.

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