“I’m not throwing away my shot.”
According to Wikipedia, “Hamilton” is currently the fourth highest grossing Broadway musical of all time. However, when you factor into the equation its recent release (only debuting in 2015), its “per show” average has it on pace to DOUBLE the current #1 show of all time “Lion King.” Who knew the “ten dollar founding father without a father” would make such a popular storyline?
Now, it may stand to reason that making a musical about the birth of our nation that has George Washington rapping and choreographed pistol duels would be something people would want to see … but we should think a bit deeper about the story that is told in “Hamilton” to understand its epic success.
What is this musical all about? I believe it is about one word – “LEGACY” – and I think you and I care a whole lot about the legacy that we leave. This is why the musical resonates at such a deep emotional level.
So where do we see the theme of legacy running through the show? Well, it is the purpose that carries our title character along. He is more concerned with how he is remembered in the long run than how he is benefitting from his decisions today. In a microwave society, we are drawn to the story of someone this radically committed to the long game. This theme shows up throughout the songs in this production:
The musical begins with Alexander Hamilton boldly declaring that he “will not throw away his shot” at leaving an impact on the world. He understands that his life CAN MATTER, and he wants to rise up to the challenge and leave his mark.
In the middle of the musical, Alexander prays, “God help and forgive me, I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me” … and General Washington sings of his longing for a nation that “outlives me when I am gone.”
Near the end of the show, Hamilton defines this for us as he says: “what is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me.” Our legacy is what it is about us that lasts in this world beyond us.
And then, there is the final line of the entire musical … a haunting statement – “Who tells your story?” Our lives leave an impact. Our lives tell a story. What story is your life telling? What seeds are you planting?
As you know, over the past several weeks at Wildwood we have been walking through a series anchored in 2 Corinthians 4-7 entitled “Mission: Endure.” We have been talking about perspectives the Apostle Paul is sharing with us about how to remain on mission with Christ for the long haul. This Sunday, we are in part 5 of this series … but we will take an excursion from 2 Corinthians to talk a bit more about Paul’s co-author of this letter … his younger protege Timothy. Timothy is the legacy of (at least) two streams of influence: his Mom and Grandma (2 Timothy 1:5), and the Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 1:2, 2:1). This Sunday, we will look at these influences of traditional family and church family.
On this Mother’s Day, we will reflect on the impact we can have on our “offspring” both physical and spiritual, as we see the examples of Lois and Eunice (Timothy’s Grandma and Mom), and Paul (Timothy’s spiritual “dad”). Regardless of our family status (married, single, kids, no kids), we will all find challenge in this study!
We want our lives to matter. We don’t want to throw away our shot. We know (instinctively) that our lives lead to fruit a future generation will have to eat … so how do we live our lives in such a way that outlives us in its utility, productivity, and meaning? We will see this together on Sunday in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services at Wildwood. Hope to see you there … and bring friends! You will want to be in the room where this happens …