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Phantoms and Forgiveness
Witnessing Tools
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Rebecca Droeger

While recuperating from surgery, I decided to watch the musical The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Weber.  It was the movie version made in 2004 starring Gerard Butler as the Phantom and Emmy Rossum as the heroine, Christine.

Mind you, I’ve never been a big musical theater fan (please don’t tell my theater friends).  Of course, I always enjoyed the classics like The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Grease and Cats; but I never really could get into any of the others.  To me, it just seemed like they would put songs in a place that had no business being at that moment: filler, if you will.

However, one of my theater friends shared some clips awhile back of The Phantom of the Opera and it peeked my curiosity.  So, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It started in black and white, and in a shattered opera house.  It was an auction after a fire had destroyed it so many years ago.

After a few items are auctioned off, the auctioneer goes to a massive, covered object.  A colossal chandelier is revealed and the music grabs you and as the covering draws up and life comes into the theater.

While they continue to pull up the chandelier, color slowly grows into the old chandelier as it is pieced back together the further it climbs.  Dust and cobwebs are blown from the objects in the theater as the powerful music pounds through your chest.  Everything slowly grows more and more colorful.

It gave me goose bumps all over and moved me to tears.  It made me think of the breath of God breathing life into man.

"Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7 NIV)

From that point on, I was hooked.  Mind you, some of the “filler” music was there; but there were other glorious, beautiful and captivating songs.  It has become my favorite musical.

When something like that can move you so much, it really rips through your emotions.  It even makes you feel for all of the characters.

It’s quite a disturbing feeling to have such sorrow for the Phantom character.  His character wasn’t really a classic villain, but more of the anti-hero.

Disfigured from birth and rescued from the gypsies, the sewers under the opera house become his home.  Always hiding in the dark, he becomes a musical genius and magician.

The Phantom falls in love with the main character, Christine and becomes a tutor to her in the guise of an “Angel of music.”  He attempts to lure her to a life of darkness with him because all he knows is the shadows of the sewers and the mask that hides half of his face.

Even though the Phantom winds up killing a couple of the characters and kidnapping Christine, you wind up feeling so sad for him and longing for him to find freedom from his solitude.

It made me wonder whether Andrew Lloyd Webber was trying to make the audience have “sympathy for the devil,” or if he was witnessing to the forgiveness of God.  Songs like “Angel of Music,” while beautiful, gives one pause to consider Lucifer as he was an angel of music as well.

Whatever Webber’s intent, the ending spoke to me of the forgiveness of our Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.  While not want to spoil it for you, it really demonstrates what forgiveness can do for one’s soul.

No matter how bad we’ve been; no matter what evil we have done, or what crimes we have committed, God forgives our sins.  He is our loving Father, and we only have to accept the gift of pardon as His Son paid our penalty for us.

"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy." (Micah 7:18 NIV)

About Rebecca Droeger

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