My students are, in a word, obsessed with the 2012 movie version of Les Miserables. Knowing this, I decided to use Les Mis as the basis for our first, three-week series of the year. This series is written as discussions, designed to be interactive. When doing this kind of discussion, I always find it helpful to provide students with a copy of the relevant song lyrics.
Week 3 Les Mis Discussion:
Explain: This is the final scene in the movie. Javert is dead and Valjean has lived a long life, during which he has raised Fantine's daughter, Cosette, as his own. Now his death is imminent.
Watch: Scene 20
1. Near the start of the song, Valjean sings, “God on high, hear my prayer.” Do you believe that God hears our prayers? Why or why not?
Who or what has influenced your answer to this question?
2. Fantine, who is already dead, appears to Valjean, beckoning him home. She promises Valjean, “You will be with God.” Once you die, do you think you'll be with God? Why or why not?
3. Read Revelation 21:3. How does or doesn't this passage support the idea that after death, you'll be with God?
4. Valjean gives Cosette his last confession, a story of “one who turned from hating, a man who only learned to love.” Think about your journey of faith. Write your confession using Valjean's language: “I turned from ___________and learned to ___________.” How did your faith in Jesus allow (or compel) you to turn from whatever you just named?
5. Fantine invites Valjean to “Come with me where chains will never bind you.” What does it mean for something to bind us?
6. What are some examples of “chains” that “bind us” here on earth?
7. Read Matthew 6:19-21. According to this passage, what chains bind us here on earth?
8. How can we seek freedom from the chains that bind us even while we're on earth?
9. Fantine tells Valjean, “All your grief at last, at last behind you.” Read Revelation 21:3-4. How does or doesn't this passage support the idea that in heaven, all our grief will be behind us? How might this passage give us hope?
10. Valjean prays, “Forgive me all my trespasses.” What are these words from?
- The Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:12
11. Had Valjean died before asking for forgiveness, do you think he would have still gone to heaven? Why or why not?
12. Must we confess our sins & ask for forgiveness in order to actually be forgiven? Why or why not?
13. Read 1 John 1:9. According to this passage, must we confess our sins & ask for forgiveness in order to be forgiven? Why or why not?
14. Skim Luke 15:11-24. According to this passage, must we confess our sins & ask for forgiveness in order to actually be forgiven? Why or why not?
15. Valjean, Fantine, & Eponine say, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Read 1 John 4:7. According to this passage, where does love come from? How does our love for others reflect God?
16. Read 1 John 4:8-10. How does God reveal his love to us?
17. Read 1 John 4:11-12. How does or doesn't this passage support the idea that “to love another person is to see the face of God?”
18. Describe a time when you've seen the face of God by loving another person.
19. The chorus of this song paints a powerful picture of heaven. How does it compare and contrast with your picture of heaven?
20. The chorus proclaims “We will walk behind the plowshares, we will put away the sword.” What's a plowshare? Read Isaiah 2:4. What do you think it means to “beat swords into plowshares”?
- A concept in which military weapons or technologies are converted for peaceful civilian applications
- The plowshare is often used to symbolize creative tools that benefit mankind, as opposed to destructive tools of war, symbolized by the sword, a similar sharp metal tool with an arguably opposite use.
21. The chorus says, “The chain will be broken & all men will have their reward.” Do you think we'll really be rewarded in heaven? Why or why not?
22. Read Matthew 25:23. According to this passage, do you think we'll be rewarded in heaven? Why or why not?
23. Read Matthew 5:12. According to this passage, do you think we'll be rewarded in heaven? Why or why not?
24. The chorus asks, “Will you join in our crusade.” In religious circles, crusade certainly has a negative connotation. That said, as a Christian, what crusade is Jesus calling us to join? Why?
25. The chorus also raises the question, “Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?” As a Christian, describe the world you long to see.
26. Read Isaiah 11:1-9. According to this passage, how would you describe the world we long to see?
27. Read Matthew 6:10. When we say, “Your kingdom come”, what kind of world are we praying for? What would be the defining characteristics of this kind of world?
28. As followers of Christ, how can we make the kind of world we long to see a reality - right here and now and not just in heaven?