DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING?

‘At the end of the day you’re another day older
And that’s all you can say for the life of the poor’

This week I went to see Wellington School’s production of Les Misérables. It was a genuinely magnificent show with some truly wonderful performances. All those involved are to be congratulated for their achievements.

But as I watched I couldn’t help thinking how those present were made up only of those who can and those who have. On stage there was no room for those who can not – for those who, never mind walking out to perform in front of a full house, find it difficult to leave their homes each morning and who struggle to make eye contact with their next door neighbour. And in the audience there was no room for those who have not, for those who, never mind the £10 ticket price, worry if they will be able to find another 50p for the electricity meter.

Les Misérables aren’t confined to 19th century France – they are very much part of 21st century Britain. They interact with us daily. Do you hear the people sing? I doubt it. And if you can, more than likely it’s a lament. For their distress isn’t a cue to pour out their souls by way of a plaintive melody. On the contrary, their genuine heartache, their real struggle and intense sadness is, at the end of the day, a prompt only for tears. And not theirs only.

One can’t help feeling that if we think we have it hard, others have it very much harder. And, with yesterday’s sharp rise in fuel prices and the rapidly increasing cost of living, one can only foresee that, for many, things are about to get very much worse.

Where I wonder will they turn?

If we think we are overwhelmed by the needs of others now, one can only imagine how much worse it’s soon going to become.

When tomorrow comes.

Even so, there is hope. Les Misérables is a story rich in Christian imagery and the musical finishes with these hopeful words:

‘Do you hear the people sing lost in the valley of the night? It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light. For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.’

Because, at the end of the day, there is a day after tomorrow. And whilst, in the meantime, it doesn’t excuse a lack of compassion on our part, it is nonetheless good to know that there is a day coming when we ‘will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord, we will walk behind the ploughshare, we will put away the sword. The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.’

Somewhere beyond the barricade, there really is a better world – one that I too long to see.

Perhaps, then, there is cause for singing after all.


Related posts:

To read ‘Eleanor Rigby is not at all fine’, click here

To read ‘Hearing the grass grow’, click here

To read ‘The Repair Shop’, click here

To read ‘Gratitude and Regret’, click here

To read ‘When the jokes on you’, click here

To read ‘An audience for grief’, click here

To read ‘Greneral Practice – A Sweet Sorrow’, click here

And some explicitly Christian posts:

To read ‘Rest assured’, click here

To read, ‘T.S. Eliot, Jesus and the Paradox of the Christian Life’, click here

To read ‘Hope comes from believing the promises of God’, click here

2 responses to “DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING?”

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