To Love Another Person Is To See The Face Of God
Speaker: Pastor Mike Dawson
January 30, 2017
This week we kicked off a four-week series called God on Broadway, which connects Broadway musicals to inspiring scriptural truths. Each week of this series we will look at a different musical, and this week’s theme was Les Misérables. We had an incredible morning of worship on Sunday, where the choir sang the “Epilogue” and Dr. Jung Won Kim and a guest cellist played “Bringing Him Home” from Les Mis. In the 11:11 service, we watched powerful video clips from the movie Les Mis. If you missed this week, we hope you will join us next week, where we will be talking about the musical Wicked! The choir will sing “For Good” in the traditional services, and Pastor Katie Lewis and Kristie Lee Achuff will sing a duet of “For Good” in the contemporary service.
In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus teaches his last parable before he suffers persecution and is crucified. Some say that this is the climax of his teachings. In this parable, Jesus says on Judgement Day, he will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep will inherit the Kingdom of God because they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed the stranger, took care of the sick, and visited those in prison. The goats, on the other hand, will be punished for doing none of these things. Jesus says “whatever you do for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.” This passage reminds us that Jesus is in people and places that we would never expect. This passage reminds us that what we DO matters and how we live is a reflection of the faith we profess. As Mother Teresa once said, “each of them is Jesus in disguise.” Jesus is in the new person at work or school, the refugee, the person who is sick and in the hospital. The church is called to offer grace and love to all people, particularly the least of these. Yet, the church is sometimes the place where grace is not offered at all. The church can be relentless in judging others and closing its doors to the “other.”
The movie and musical Les Mis shows us the transformative power of God’s grace and invites us to be conduits of God’s grace to all people- particularly the least of these. The main character Jean Valjean goes to prison for stealing bread for his hungry sister, and when he gets out, he is homeless with no place to go. A bishop welcomes him in and treats him as an honored guest. He gives him food, drink, and a place to stay at night. In the middle of the night, however, Jean steals silver items and runs away, only to be caught next morning. When the police drag Jean back to the church, the bishop extends amazing grace and forgiveness to Jean and says that he gave him the silver. In fact, he gives him more, two candlesticks, to take with him. The bishop’s one request of Jean was that he would use this silver to become a better and honest man. This act of grace was a defining moment in Jean’s life and he spends the rest of the movie trying to offer grace to other people. He adopts a former factory worker’s daughter named Cosette and cares for her as his own child.
At the crux of the Matthew 25 passage is the truth stated in one of the last lines of the movie- “To love another person is to see the face of God.” This week we invite you to treat people you come into contact with as “Jesus in disguise.” You just might see the face of God.
Monday- Matthew 25:31-46
Tuesday- Isaiah 58:1-10
Wednesday- Luke 15:11-32
Thursday- Romans 15:1-13
Friday- Psalm 82:1-8
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
- Who are the “least of these” in our community? Our nation? Our world?
- What can we learn about grace from the musical Les Miserables?
- Would you treat people differently if you knew they were “Jesus in disguise”?