“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.”
— John R.W. Stott
These are the times when mascara would never cling long enough to endure the movie’s viewing. When tears come and sadness droops and caves and then joy breaks in and emotions are dragged along looping wildly. And yet there is so much beauty.
And I’d seen tweets and Facebook posts giving warnings to go bare-faced, stocked with tissues. Forgo your mascara, gals, lest you be a dripping black mess by the end.
And so I did. I went with no makeup at all and sat through the songs and chorus and scenes of heavy oppression, of the destitute and dirty, the fresh-faced and hopeful, the redeemed and the ridiculed.
As we trudged out of the theatre I was both elevated and exhausted.
Because at the heart of Le Mis is the powerful story of redemption.
It is a liturgy of grace, a man undeserving and crushed beneath the weight of his own bitterness, being endowed with mercy.
It is the redemption of a mother’s love for her daughter, which was broken and never fully realized in her lifetime. The anguished cries of a heart, broken and longing in a world that has betrayed her.
There’s a lot more to it but this isn’t acutally a movie review of Le Mis.
I know the story, but then don’t we all? Isn’t this the grand story of all of humanity?
Don’t we all groan a bit for a world full of color, and clean linen, and new beginnings? Haven’t we all felt the longing that there must be more?
As Fantine’s desperation and sacrificial love for her beloved daughter Cosette drove her to renounce all that she had in this world, her beauty, her dignity, and her health even to the point of death, I held my breath. Because that story didn’t wrap up tidily in the 1800′s.
That story and millions like it continue today. All I could hear when Fantine was crying out, her body used and discarded, her soul torn and sagging, was the voice of the millions, silenced around this great planet, whose very heart cry is for hope. Just hope.
It is a thread that winds tight around our hearts and worms its way into our thoughts, nagging us with the weight of God’s glory. How can those who have seen and experienced it be silent? How can we not want it to be realized in the freeing of captives, the setting right the oppressed, the bringing of gospel and hope to those who have never known?
How can we ever fully experience the saving power of grace if we think it so cheap that it affords no others participation and inclusion?That the merits of grace go beyond the saving of souls to the saving of bodies, and lives, and dignity, and yes, hope.
I don’t want to live with a cheap and flimsy gospel.
I don’t want my grace to be solitary and hoarded. I want to love well. And if I’m honest, I don’t always know how.
I see the need, so gaping and immense, yawning wide and cavernous and I think, who am I? Who am I that I could even make the tiniest of dents? I am a housewife, a homeschool mama with a tiny corner of the internet. We don’t have abundant financial resources at our disposal. I am not a big deal.
Who am I?
And then I always go back to Mother Theresa’s quote. It is etched into my mind like mantra.
“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love. “
I want to do things with great love and sometimes that means learning how to do it well.
On February 22nd and 23rd, I’m hoping to learn a little more about loving well. I will connect with thousands of other like-minded people in Philadelphia, who want to join the conversation and be empowered to live out the gospel in tandem with the call to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.
This is the third year of The Justice Conference and the first year for me. I am beyond excited and I’m having the worst time deciding which sessions I want to attend because they have put together a phenomenal line-up of speakers. But I suppose that’s a pretty good problem to have to contend with.
Will you be there? If Philly seems like a tall order so late in the game (believe me I get it, it’s a miracle I’m going), there are simulcasts in cities nationwide offering a chance to join closer to home. See if there is one in your neighborhood. Or I’ll see you in Philly! Don’t forget to join me here as I’ll be blogging and sharing the awesome with you guys!
If you want to get a jumpstart on the heart of what’s happening at the Justice Conference, you’ll want to read this, Pursuing Justice Book Review and follow the links to preorder your copy today. Like, right now! Go.