After Thoughts | Les Miserables
This past weekend, we thought together about Jesus' invitation to life a live free of revenge, instead seeking to counterculturally love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
During each of our three gatherings, we viewed part of the 1998 release of Les Miserables, in which the main character, Jean Valjean - played by Liam Neeson - is not only forgiven by the bishop, but blessed with the gift of silver candlesticks.
When you have a few moments, view the clip again, specifically noticing the different violent acts perpetrated on the different characters: upon Jean Valjean, a guard within the prison camp, and later, the bishop himself.
What alone stops the cycle of violence? It's the bishop's committment to "turning the other cheek"!
Notice the grace shown Jean Valjean, as he dined at the bishops table, and recall again, S. Mark Heim's statement in his book Saved from Sacrifice: A Theology of the Cross:
What difference does it make that Christ “died for us”? The answers to this question involves personal conversion and a new form of social reconciliation. The resurrection of the crucified one brought with it not righteous vengeance but the formation of an odd new community that gathered around him. This community deployed a whole range of elements to substitute for scapegoating. Christians celebrated their ritual remembrance of Jesus’ death not with copycat killings or new sacrifices, but with a meal of bread and wine.
Is there anyone you could offer the gift of bread and wine?
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