I don’t know what disturbs me more: the reality that our nation and world are gripped in a fist of violence, hatred, blame and rage — or the reality that when I heard about yet another massacre on Sunday, this time in Orlando, I experienced feelings inside my own heart of violence, hatred, blame and rage. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn summed us up well:
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.
It seems we’re all caught in this dark, gooey web. What’s more, we keep choosing to be caught. Every one of us. No exceptions.
There is a Presence. A reality more powerful than any human force we could name or imagine. We can’t dissect it or explain it. But when it appears, instinctively we turn, like meerkats, toward its warmth.
Just hours after the horrific events in Orlando, it’s no surprise that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s acceptance speech at the Tony Awards immediately went viral. Miranda, whose Broadway musical Hamilton earned 11 Tony awards, accepted his own for Best Score, not with a speech but with an audacious sonnet of hope:
…[W]e live through times when hate and fear seem stronger.
We rise and fall and light from dying embers.
Remembrances that hope and love last longer.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed
or swept aside.
Miranda’s words echo another audacious proclamation:
Love … bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…
And now faith, hope and love abide, these three;
and the greatest of these is love.
The Apostle Paul knew something about God’s kind of love: We can mock it, ignore it, reject it, threaten it, torture it, shoot it and/or nail it to a cross. We can actually kill the love of God — but we cannot defeat it. Love will keep coming back for us. It will keep pursuing us and forgiving us and inviting us to come out of death and into life.
Love is what God is.
Love is why Christ came.
Love is what the Church must be and do.