Reflecting With Hope on a Week of Tragic Violence

It has been just over a week since the tragic mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 innocent people dead and over 50 injured. Last week also marked the one year anniversary of the shooting deaths of nine innocent people at Mother Immanuel AME Church in Charleston. The level of hate and violence in both are overwhelming and can tempt us to despair. Yet in the face of such tragedy, responses of love and compassion remind us that God is with us in the suffering and that God's love overcomes even the worst acts of hate and violence. Last night, some 50,000 people attended a vigil in Orlando. This is just one of the hundreds of acts of solidarity and love that spring up after acts of horrific evil. While we continue the struggle to find ways to decrease gun violence and all manners of hateful prejudice, we do so with hope in the love of God revealed in Jesus, a love that is with those who suffer, a love that is victorious over suffering. This love was powerfully expressed by Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Tony Awards during his acceptance speech for one of the awards for "Hamilton." He concluded with a piece he wrote called "Sonnet to Orlando." Here is the text and video of his sonnet:

Sonnet to Orlando

By Lin-Manuel Miranda

Accepting a Tony Award for “Hamilton” on June 12, 2016


My wife's the reason anything gets done

She nudges me towards promise by degrees

She is a perfect symphony of one

Our son is her most beautiful reprise


We chase the melodies that seem to find us

Until they’re finished songs and start to play

When senseless acts of tragedy remind us

That nothing here is promised, not one day


This show is proof that history remembers

We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger

We rise and fall and light from dying embers

Remembrances that hope and love last forever.


And love is love is love is love is love is love is

Love is love cannot be killed or swept aside

I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story

Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.

Thank you so much for this.