Friday, December 28, 2012

The Bishops and the Javerts

After seeing Les Miserables on Wednesday, my wife and I had a somber discussion about various people who have been a part of our lives. Some have acted the role of the Bishop who "bought" Jean Valjean's soul for God. They have granted to us extraordinary grace and kindness.  God has used them to fill our hearts with encouragement and hope.

Others have played the role of Javert. They make their opinions clear: that people do not change, that fallenness calls for judgment and penance, that there is no good place in society for felons and thieves. To them, the past is inescapable.

I see the same conflict of values in the story of the prodigal son. The Father shows illogical and extravagant grace; the older brother is a Javert--unforgiving, demanding, disdaining both the prodigal for his sin and the Father for His love.

A while back I penned a set of lyrics from the perspective of the forgiven prodigal. It's called, "Song for the Older Brother," a plea for modern Javerts to embrace grace like the Father.

Will you rejoice with me,
now that I am free?
Will you sing a song of praise
that even my heart has been made clean?
Or, are you still surprised at the way I behaved?
Stunned to know a child of God could be so enslaved?
Please put away your shock and grief
and rejoice with me.

Will you rejoice with me,
now that I have peace?
Or are you just a little mad to know
my anguish has found release?
And are you wishing still my every consequence
magnified what I deserved
and slashed my confidence?
Please let God's mercy grant relief!
And rejoice with me.

See the angels rejoicing one and all,
See the Father embrace the prodigal,
See the Savior,
Who gladly bought me with His death
Now calls me friend.
Will you come join with them?

Will you rejoice with me,
now that I am free?
Put aside your pride and pain
to sieze the joy that forgiveness brings!
Why don't you enter in to my true happiness?
Maybe you have never known that place of brokenness,
or felt the thrill of being free?
But would you rejoice with me? 

(c) 2009 Psalm 1 Productions

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