Giant Theology: The Long Table of the Lord

Julie DeltonMy family and I finally went to see Les Miserables, the movie featuring Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, and Hugh Jackman. I’m not doing a review on this movie, but let me make two comments:

  1. Viewing it was an incredibly draining experience. I have not been this emotionally drained at the end of a movie since Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The format of being a near-opera with almost all the lines done in song adds to this, pumping in great emotion through the musical expression. It was well worth the price of a ticket.
  2. This is a complex exploration of grace, a theme and word that reappear throughout the story. I’m still pondering some of the movie’s aspects on this.

I was particularly struck by the final scene, like a curtain call in a musical, where there is an impossibly gigantic barricade in Paris, and everyone is there: Jean Valjean, Fantine, the Bishop, Eponine, and the other rebels (I don’t remember seeing Javert, though). They are there even though they have earlier died in the movie.

All of this reminds me of what I think is the most powerful and moving final scene in the history of Hollywood movies: the communion scene at the end of Sally Field’s Places in the Heart. This story ends where it begins, in the little church. This time, they are passing the communion tray from person to person, and everyone is there. Edna, the heroine, is there. The greedy banker is there. The Klansman is there. The dead Sheriff is there, as is the boy who inadvertently killed him and was subsequently lynched. They are all there, gathered around the Table of the Lord.

The Table of the Lord is the ultimate symbol of fellowship for the church. When communion is denied, the body of Christ is broken, for one of its members has been ex-communicated. This is very serious stuff. We should remember that while we may provide the physical elements used in Communion, it is the Lord’s Table. He is the Host. He is the Inviter. There may be people around the Table we don’t care for, folks we think should not be there. But it is his Table, not ours. We come with our sins, with our burdens, with our need to be forgiven and restored. And he will give us rest. That, my friends, is Giant Theology.

Mark Krause
Nebraska Christian College

One thought on “Giant Theology: The Long Table of the Lord

  1. Great words, Mark. I’ve not yet seen the new adaptation, though the story itself has long been a favorite novel and film (Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush). The connections you’ve made are certainly insightful–now I can’t wait to see the film!

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