Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


2 Comments

The Joy of Les Miserables

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

eiffel tower in paris france

Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

People have been raving about the musical version of Les Miserable which has already had around three hundred million dollars in worldwide box office sales.

Nicky Gumbel calls it a superb film, a triumph of grace over law, good over evil, love over hate. Eric Metaxas said that it is one of the most vivid, most moving examples of God’s goodness and mercy currently playing at a movie theatre near you. I enjoyed the new movie so much that it inspired me to again watch the 1998 version with Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman. Though my wife and I saw the Les Miserables production many years at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, this time round seemed to be striking a deeper chord with myself. The original novel, which I now have in eBook version, has been in print for over 150 years. Upton Sinclair calls the novel Les Miserables one of the five greatest novels of the world. With 1500 pages (1900 in French), it is also one of the longest novels ever written.

Many of you already know this delightful story of how an embittered ex-convict named Jean Valjean stole from a bishop who turns the other cheek and challenges Valjean to become a new man. Victor Hugo has the bishop say: “Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.” In gratitude, Valjean spends the rest of his life showing amazing grace, love and forgiveness to others. The forgiven forgive. Valjean’s life is based loosely on the life of Eugène François Vidocq, an ex-convict who became a thriving entrepreneur known for his good works. In 1828, Vidocq, like Valjean, rescued one of his factory workers by lifting a heavy cart on his shoulders.

The tension in the movie between forgiveness and judgment is expressed through the police inspector Javert relentlessly pursuing Valjean. Javert tells Prisoner 24601 (Valjean) that ‘men like you can never change’. Again and again Valjean shocks Javert by forgiving the unforgivable. Valjean offered to Javert the same radical reconciliation and healing that had been given to him. Javert cannot handle forgiveness because he is so fixated on people getting what they deserve. Javert was legalistic and self-righteous. This caused him to persecute the very person whose life had been transformed, the very person who was doing so much good for others. Javert’s compassion is completely lacking. Life becomes no more than following the rules and trusting in one’s own efforts. For Javert, God is an unforgiving moralistic tyrant. For Valjean, God is personal, caring and loving.

Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine was spectacular, particularly in her singing of ‘I Dreamed a Dream.’ In 1841, Hugo personally rescued a prostitute from arrest for assault. We grieve with Fantine over the injustice of her losing her job and being forced into prostitution to feed her child Cossette. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times notes that Les Miserables ‘delivers an emotional wallop when it counts. You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir.’

Les Miserables reminds us that anyone can change; anyone can become a new person. We are not fated to be bitter and miserable. We can choose the way of forgiveness and joy. We can choose to be a new creation like Valjean. My prayer for those reading this article is that the movie Les Miserables may inspire each of us to forgive and serve one another as did Valjean.

 

The Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


Leave a comment

Thanking God for godly mentors

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

The New Year season is a time for both remembering and anticipating.  This New Year, I particularly remember one of my mentors Ernie Eldridge who has helped me more effectively spend the last 7,100 days on the North Shore.

 

Healthy mentors make the world of difference. Ernie Eldridge mentored me when I was just finding my way in the world.

 

Ernie believed in me when I first came to faith in 1972 and reassured me that I had done the right thing.  Ernie gave me sage advice about relationship choices, even assisting at my wedding forty-one years ago.  When I was completing my Social Work degree at UBC, Ernie carefully listened as I shared my dream about becoming an Anglican priest.  After thirty years of ordained ministry, I am grateful that Ernie could see potential in a well-meaning, rather naïve young adult.

 

In the mid 1970s, we started a singing group called Morning Star and a parallel LivingStone Productions which organized contemporary music concerts at Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the PNE Gardens.  Thanks to Ernie Eldridge’s mentorship, Morning Star received a national grant that enabled us to sing throughout BC, including an extensive outreach to Vancouver Island.  During that period, we sang extensively on the North Shore, including Hillside Baptist, West Vancouver United, and St. Simon’s North Vancouver.

As a social worker, I had the privilege of working for John Braithwaite in 1975-76 at North Shore Neighbourhood House.  But I had no idea that God would one day have me spend several decades living on the North Shore.  That was never on my radar screen.  After four & a half years serving as the assistant priest at St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Abbotsford, I knew in 1986 that it was time to become a Rector/Senior pastor. One of the first people that I asked for advice and prayer was Ernie Eldridge.  Ernie agreed that it was time to move on.   In ‘casting my bread on the waters’, I applied for two positions: St Thomas Chilliwack and St. Simon’s North Vancouver.  When I met with the St Simon’s selection committee on Badger Road in Deep Cove, they asked me a lot of challenging questions.  My answers did not always impress myself, but I left that meeting with a deep sense that I would be moving to the North Shore.

Ernie Eldridge always cheered for me when I was facing my next major transition.  One time he went to bat for me with my bishop at great personal risk.  Two of Ernie’s gifts to me that have been invaluable on the North Shore were his ‘Death & Dying’ and ‘Time Management’ courses.  He taught me the need to prepare for one’s death and to grieve the inevitable losses that we will all face. While writing my book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, my wife and I were privileged to visit Ernie and Barb in Beaver Harbour New Brunswick before Barb died from ALS. Recently Ernie produced a thoughtful book ‘Hope, Help, Heaven’ on his last ten years with his dear wife Barb.

Because Ernie uses a time management system, he was able to write his book in which he journals his thoughts and activities on a daily and weekly basis.  One of Ernie’s favourite verses was Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Through Ernie’s influence in 1982, I began using the Seven Star Diary system after my voice was restored through surgery.  For the past twenty-eight years, I have regularly recorded my work activities in a journal format.  As a result, I know exactly how many hours I have spent on any particular activity. Ernie taught me to ‘redeem the time’ because life is short and easily wasted (Ephesians 5:17, Colossians 4:5).

 

Through Ernie’s time management system, I am aware that I have now spent 7,100 days serving the North Shore.  Time flies when you enjoy your work. It is a great privilege to serve each of you. It has not always been easy.  In the past 31 years, I have been privileged to be involved in some of your baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Through the Deep Cove Crier and the North Shore News, I have been privileged to communicate with each of you in hundreds of diverse articles.  Over the last three decades, St. Simon’s NV has served many of your children, preteens, teens and young adults through our gifted young pastors, the Rev Ken Bell, the Rev Josh Wilton, Jill Cardwell, Tyler Gibson, and Mark Hird.  In the past 31 years, I had an opportunity to personally visit 10,000 of your homes to see what you think and feel. In the same way that Ernie Eldridge has helped me make better use of my time, I pray that each of us reading this article will learn to more effectively redeem our time and become better stewards of this sacred gift of our fleeting days.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore Mews

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca