Thomsen Talk: March 2017
Warning: This blog is extremely personal.
If you’ve read my bio in the stagebill, you’ve seen that I attended Wisconsin Lutheran College. I actually had Lutheran education from nursery school through college. In grade school, we were taught the difference between Law and Gospel, and I remember in our 8th grade confirmation class being taught by a pastor that a good sermon would have a healthy balance of both. You need to know that you are sinner (Law) in order to appreciate the fact that your sins are forgiven (Gospel). This education has been quite useful in working on SWEENEY TODD.
Several times throughout SWEENEY TODD, we hear the lyrics “He served a dark and vengeful God” and “He served a dark and a hungry God.” That’s law talking: if you’ve done something wrong, you must be punished. Sweeney takes that justice upon himself — “we’ve all done something wrong; therefore, we all deserve to die; therefore, I will make that happen.”
The book of Galatians has a verse with a startling connection to our show: If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other (Gal 5:15). How fitting for a show in which customers in a barber shop are made into very tasty and very popular meat pies! As Sweeney and his accomplice Mrs. Lovett hatch this plan, they say, “What’s the sound of the world out there…. It’s man devouring man, my dear, and who are we to deny it in here?”
What is missing from the story of SWEENEY TODD is grace – undeserved love. We do wrong and should be punished, but (and this is a really big but) we are forgiven. This is the good news. This is Gospel. 1 John 4:19 tells us what to do with this news: We love because He first loved us.
SWEENEY TODD shows us the consequences of devouring each other. May you be inspired to love one another.
Learn more about the show…