FROM NOW ON…

I saw the sun begin to dim
And felt that winter wind blow cold
A man learns who is there for him
When the glitter fades and the walls won’t hold

‘Cause from then, rubble
What remains
Can only be what’s true
If all was lost
There’s more I gained
‘Cause it led me back
To you

From now on
These eyes will not be blinded by the lights
From now on
What’s waited ’til tomorrow starts tonight
Tonight

Let this promise in me start
Like an anthem in my heart
From now on
From now on

I drank champagne with kings and queens
The politicians praised my name
But those are someone else’s dreams
The pitfalls of the man I became

For years and years
I chased their cheers
The crazy speed of always needing more
But when I stop
And see you here
I remember who all this was for

And from now on
These eyes will not be blinded by the lights
From now on
What’s waited ’til tomorrow starts tonight
It starts tonight
And let this promise in me start
Like an anthem in my heart
From now on
From now on
From now on

And we will come back home
And we will come back home
Home, again!
From now on!

These are the lyrics ringing in my head as I read our next passage in John.  The song is from the musical “The Greatest Showman”.  “The Greatest Showman” is billed as a musical-drama inspired by the story of P.T. Barnum and the creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. At its core, the film is a parable about belonging. Hugh Jackman shines as Barnum, whose character journeys from orphaned pauper to upstart entrepreneur to media magnate to wizened family man. For much of the film, Barnum nobly seeks security and prosperity for the sake of his wife and daughters, only to succumb to the siren song of fame. 

Barnum’s ploy for commercial success involves the marketing of a group of misfits and oddities into a “freakshow” of sorts, complete with trapeze artists, giants, albinos, a bearded lady and General Tom Thumb. Barnum helps turn these grotesqueries into showbiz stars, but he also builds a financial empire in the process. In the film, Barnum’s true genius is his monetizing the human fascination with the strange.

When a newspaper critic dubs him a hack, Barnum develops an obsession with being recognized as a legitimate entertainer, fueled in part by his insecurity about his humble beginnings. Inevitably, Barnum’s quest for critical adulation leads him to neglect the gang of misfits upon which he built his earlier fortune and very nearly costs him his family.

In the film’s most pivotal scene, Barnum is reeling from a devastating fire that has destroyed his circus building when he finds himself surrounded by his family of fellow performers. Estranged from his wife and children, it is the encouragement of these “misfits” that brings clarity to Barnum. He finally sees himself fully and truly as a fellow outsider, and in embracing this reality, Barnum resolves to give up the chase for praise from the masses and moves to reconcile with his family. And the scene is carried by this song, “From Now On”.

It is a prodigal moment, an epiphany of pure repentance that paves the way not only for the film’s final scenes, but more importantly, for the true belonging we all desire. “From Now On” is a mantra of resolve and transformation.

The central message of “The Greatest Showman” hits like a flash of Good News. We will come back home! Theologians speak of this as eschatological hope — our longing for eternity that was set in our hearts long ago (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This isn’t typically the stuff of Hollywood musicals, I’ll grant you. But this is the substance of our deepest hopes. Everyone wants to go home. And I suspect that one of the primary reasons for the success of the film and the soundtrack is the resonance of this core message. As the ensemble quietly fades out, this “someday vision” lingers as a whispered hope, the reality toward which we are oriented.

“The Greatest Showman” points us to a “someday reunion”, an in-gathering of universal belonging to God that is the hope of misfits, oddballs, and grotesqueries.  And, as it turns out…like me, too.  We are all misfits in this world accepted and loved by Jesus.

As it turns out, we are only a stone’s throw away from complete, unadulterated forgiveness.  We when accept Jesus and receive his forgiveness we are on a journey called “from now on…don’t sin”.  Leave it behind and come home to Jesus who has our backs and who will be with us always until we meet Him face to face in glory.

Yes, we are only a stone’s throw away…Believe and be saved.  Come home.

As you read about this woman caught (or trapped) in the sin of adultery.  Watch closely how Jesus handles the situation.  The stones drop one by one, the woman is not judged but saved from death. 

Meditate on Jesus’ final words of hope to the frantic, fearful woman;

“Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

John—God’s Love

John 8:1-11, The Message

To Throw the Stone

1-2 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

3-6 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

6-8 Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

9-10 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

11 “No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

Lord,

I repent of all my sins that keep me from fully following you.  Thank you for your forgiveness and your promise to forget our sins.  We DO remember and learn from our sins so we won’t go back to where we were before you entered our lives.  Thank you for teaching us.  From now on, I want no one but You as Savior and Lord.  Where else would I go, but to You?  You made me and know me better than I know myself.  Thank you for your continued transformation of my life.

In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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