Last January, I fell in love. With a movie-musical I knew little about and had to see twice before fully grasping the intrinsically beautiful, though painful picture of grace triumphing over law and love conquering so much hate and strife. Platitudes? Yes. Truth? Absolutely.
The first time I saw Les Miserables, I was too focused on the technicalities. I did not like Hugh Jackman’s voice. All the fake CGI-backgrounds disappointed me. But then I had this odd craving to see it again. Giving in, I cried the entire time. Technical details faded and beauty broke through my analytical walls.
Bottom line: I became obsessed.
The release of the DVD was Easter weekend, so of course I purchased it, as well as the full soundtrack, while en route for a surprise visit home. At the end of the weekend, just before I began the drive back, I was listening to it with my mom—who hates musicals—and I made a statement that forever altered my life:
“Mom, if there was ever a musical that I would throw all caution to the wind and audition for, it would be this one.”
THE NEXT DAY, as I walked to check my perpetually-empty mailbox, there it was.
for MC’s Fall Musical Production of
“I will now eat my words,” I later tweeted.
And I did. I stood on a stage, sang a song for a faculty who had no clue who I was, and began a journey that has and still is changing who I am and who God wants me to be. This begs the question that no one has ever asked me concerning this: Why?
Why did I throw all caution to the wind to do something I have never done before? To let go of so much fear that I have allowed to hold me back for so long? To dress up like a ‘lovely lady’ and sing songs that I never, ever can get out of my head?
For me, the why is the what. This musical touches my heart like little else can because it communicates real truth. Gospel truth. At its core, it presents a story of grace that is able, against all odds, to overcome the law’s rigid demands and to truly set souls, who are willing to accept it, free, and to forever change their lives.
You see, this is what Jesus Christ has brought near to us: Transformation that sets us free from ourselves.
I, too, was bound. I was far removed from this transforming grace. Not only because of God’s law that I could never fulfill perfectly, but also because of my own law’s demands. The truth is that I can live up to neither. But grace says, “Jesus did.” Grace sings, “Freedom is mine.” And grace gives so freely, even to the point of death. And even there, she cannot be stopped. The gift is still to be given. Tomorrow still comes, in hope and in love and in new life. Grace’s song continues. I’m singing along. Will you sing too?
Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night
It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light
For the wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies,
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise
They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord,
They will walk behind the plowshare, they will put away the sword,
The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward
Will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade, is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing, say do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes.
– Katie Rosenbaum, Contributing Writer