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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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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 


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(Mount) Frederick Seymour The Forgotten Governor

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

To have the 3508-hectare Mount Seymour Provincial Park right in our Greater Vancouver backyard is such a blessing.  All of us, whether nature enthusiasts, hikers, skiers or mountaineers, would enjoy the serene forest cover of hemlock, Douglas fir and red cedar.  My wife and I, along with our three sons, have enjoyed many pleasant hours hiking along the Mt Seymour trails, especially on the Baden Powell Trail that ends up down in Deep Cove.  In the last number of years that we have been hiking on Mt Seymour, I have often wondered just whom Mt Seymour was named after.

After being given a fascinating book entitled ‘British Columbia Place Names’, I discovered that Mt Seymour is named after the first Governor of the united British Columbia colony, Frederick Seymour.  Even though Frederick Seymour has been described as the forgotten governor, his namesake is found scattered all throughout our local community.  Examples are Mt Seymour Lions, Mt Seymour Dry Cleaners, Mt Seymour Little League, Mt Seymour Soccer, Seymour Dental Centre, Seymour Animal Clinic, Seymour Golf & Country Club, Seymour Heights Elementary School, and the 11th & 13th Seymour Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers.  Even SeyCove High School is a combined name involving Seymour, as well as Deep Cove.

The more I learned about the Seymour connection, the more curious I became about just who Frederick Seymour was and why so many things were named after him, including Seymour Creek, Seymour Arm, Seymour City, and Seymour Street in Vancouver.  I discovered that Seymour was born in Belfast, Ireland on September 6, 1820 to a formerly wealthy family that had just lost its properties, position, and paycheck.  Through a family friendship with Prince Albert, Seymour was appointed as assistant colonial secretary of Tasmania.  Before being appointed as Governor of the mainland colony of British Columbia in 1864, Seymour also served in Antigua, Nevis, and finally as lieutenant governor of British Honduras for 16 years.  The Duke of Newcastle chose Seymour for BC because he saw him as ‘a man of much ability and energy’.  Seymour was thrilled at the ‘prospect of a change from the swamps of Honduras to a fine country’.

Frederick Seymour got along well with the citizens of the capital city of New Westminster.  He upgraded their school, made personal gifts of books and magazines to their library, built a 200-seat ballroom, and encouraged the growth of cricket, tennis, & amateur theatre.  He also ambitiously attempted to complete Sir James Douglas’ great highway to the interior of BC, but the financial costs of construction were staggering.

Seymour hosted 3,500 First Nations people at New Westminster for a weeklong celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday.  He also gained the support of a Chilcotin Chief in ending a violent inter-racial dispute at Bute Inlet.  Seymour later reported that his ‘great object was to obtain moderation from the white men in the treatment of Indians.’

As the interior BC gold rush began to slump in 1865, Seymour went to England in a bid to cut costs by consolidating the two colonies of Vancouver Island and the Mainland.  The British Government endorsed Seymour’s plan which resulted in the abolition of the Vancouver Island House of Assembly and the establishment of New Westminster as the sole capital of BC.  Victoria was outraged that it ceased to be a capital and lobbied successfully to move the BC capital back to Victoria.  Seymour grudgingly was forced to move from his beloved New Westminster to Victoria where he was deeply disliked by many locals.  Despite such Islander animosity, Seymour was able to establish the BC public school system, improve the courts, draw up public health regulations, set standards for mining, and reduce the provincial debt.

During this period, some BCers petitioned that BC join up with the United States.  Others began campaigning for BC to join Confederation, a move that Seymour opposed in numerous ways. Seymour initially ‘forgot’ to forward a number of pro-Confederation letters to the Colonial Secretary in London but, when he did, he included his own anti-Confederation messages.  Seymour believed that Confederation was only wanted by a vocal minority of business people who were hoping that Confederation would solve BC’s economic woes.  Prime Minister John A. Macdonald was outraged at Seymour’s opposition to Confederation, stating that Seymour should be recalled “as being perfectly unfit for his present position, under present circumstances.  From all I hear, he was never fit for it.”

Seymour’s provincial recall campaign never had a chance to get off the ground, as Seymour was called up north to settle an inter-tribal war between the Nass and Tsimshian First Nations. Using the famous Anglican missionary William Duncan of Metlakatla as an interpreter, Seymour convinced the warring groups to sign a lasting peace treaty.  On his way back, Seymour died in Bella Coola from one or more possible causes: dysentery, Panama Fever, and/or acute alcoholism.  His convenient death paved the way for his opponents to sweep the memory of Seymour and his anti-Confederation feelings under the carpet.  It is amazing to realize that when BC entered Confederation in 1871, BC had fewer than 40,000 people, of which almost 30,000 were First Nations people.  Confederation for better or worse was the ‘watershed experience’ that defined our province.  Seymour was an embarrassment to John A. Macdonald and friends.  So Seymour the anti-Confederationist became the Forgotten Governor.

In the same way that Seymour was a forgotten governor in the civil realm, God is so often a forgotten governor in the spiritual realm.  It is time that we re-establish Jesus Christ in his rightful spiritual place as governor of our land.  My prayer is that God may keep our land glorious and free and that God the forgotten governor may have dominion from sea to sea.

 

 

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

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

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

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