The plight of Fantine just hit home to me so powerfully in her haunting song, I dreamed a dream. How many dear men and women in our culture feel that life has just passed them by, and that the wounds of personal history have left them with so little hope.
And then the themes of redemption as Jean Valjean is powerfully affected by an action of great kindness and extravagant forgiveness. It's interesting that forgiveness wasn't just handed to him in a kind of effortless way, it cost something. In this case the priest's golden candlesticks. In every case of forgiveness there is a cost. In personal relationships it involves absorbing the hurt inflicted into oneself. And when we speak of God's forgiveness, Oh yes there is great cost.
In the words of the Bible
God demonstrates his own love towards us in that whilst we were great sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5.8Like Valjean we don't deserve it. But if we receive it what a powerful force for change it can be.
I had a bash at some of these themes when at our church we did a short series on God in the West End. Take a listen here if you have a moment or two.