Archive for December, 2012

Overwhelmed by the Gospel at the Cocoaplex

December 29, 2012

I live near Chocolate Town U.S.A. The streets of Hershey PA bear names like Chocolate and Cocoa, so no surprise that the name of the Cinema exudes chocolaty goodness. What is surprising is what happened there recently at a viewing of Les Misérables.

I am not an artsy fellow. I haven’t read a classic since college. Although I enjoy good acting as much as the next guy, my favorite movie of 2012 was Expendables 2. It was the best movie I had seen since the first Expendables. My all-time favorite actor is Clint Eastwood. I don’t go to museums, unless the words Civil War are in the name. I don’t appreciate fine art. I don’t have any classical music on my iPad, unless Johnny Cash counts (and it does). I think I have defended my red state manhood sufficiently.

So why, at the end of Les Misérables, did I find myself crying? Crying is an understatement. I was weeping. Uncontrollably. Embarrassingly. In fact, there was a man there who I know that I ignored in the lobby because I did not want him to see me crying. Now I have cried at the movies before. Once. Sitting beside my little boy watching Finding Nemo. Why now at the Cocoaplex?

Les Misérables is a great movie. The acting is stellar. The music gripping. The cinematography awesome. I give it 5 stars out of 4 (yes you read that right). But it was the Gospel that overwhelmed me. I cried because my heart was broken over my sin and the redeeming grace of God.

Les Misérables is a stirring tale of the conflict between law and grace. The law (represented by the character portrayed by Russell Crowe, Javert) is merciless. It is a cruel taskmaster. It is relentless. It shows no mercy. And it is ordained by God (as Javert knows). Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman) also knows this. He is an ex-con who has broken parole and is running from the law. Valjean is a man in need of grace. He finds it at a monastery. This encounter with the Christ of the Cross changes his life. He is a new man. His hatred turns to compassion. He spends the rest of his life in grace and spreads grace to all he encounters. Even Javert. This is the crux of the drama. Javert is conflicted between law and grace (both from God). He rejects grace. I don’t want to spoil any more of the plot. But the life ending of Javert and Valjean could not be any more contrasting. The law brings death. Grace brings eternal life. And as Valjean knows, God is the author of both.