12th April 2014

I Dreamed A Dream 

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:32 (NIV)
 

The musical Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, has been seen by some 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, it is an enthralling story which explores the nature of law and grace, and includes broken dreams, self-sacrifice and redemption. 

In one scene Fantine, who has suffered unrequited love, is unemployed and destitute, sings the song, “I Dreamed a Dream,” that reflects her broken dreams and the harsh realities of her life. The second verse is quoted below:

“I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted” 

The song ends,
“I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”  

As the song reminds us, we live in a fallen world where human love is often conditional and can fade and die; dreams can be shattered along the rocky path of life. The Easter season provides a vivid reminder of humanity’s cruelty, but it also gives the greatest proof of God’s constant and unconditional love. This is demonstrated, for example, by the opening scripture which states that God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all,” and by the apostle John’s statement, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

For Fantine, and perhaps for many in today’s society facing the harsh realities of life, the concept that God would be forgiving is just some far away dream. That God is forgiving is not simply a wishful thought or a dream that life can kill, but a reality. The message of the Easter season is, that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has demonstrated his unconditional love for us; that he has forgiven an imperfect humanity their sins and reconciled them to himself. As the apostle Paul wrote about the significance of these events, “…God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) 

The only barriers to God are those that we ourselves erect and the message of reconciliation is a plea to humanity to believe, accept and appropriate God’s forgiveness and reconciliation that is already ours. Life can kill many dreams and human relationships but not our relationship with God. Why? “Because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)  This is the good news of the gospel of reconciliation. 

Prayer
Father, help us to understand that we cannot earn your acceptance and that forgiveness and reconciliation is a gift that we receive only because of your love and through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Amen
 

Study by Eddie Marsh

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eddiemarshAbout the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, Grace Communion, Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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