This weekend, delegates from around the United States and Canada will convene in Palos Heights, Illinois to begin the Reformed Church in America’s General Synod. Over the course of these 6 days, OUTsights will be hosting reflections and prayers from Room for All board members and staff that are present as delegates or guests. Today we welcome Room for All Community Coordinator Cameron Van Kooten Laughead, who will be attending General Synod as a guest.
Anyone with a passing interest in musical theatre has undoubtedly, by now, heard of the Broadway juggernaut Hamilton. The production recently made history with the most number of Tony nominations of any Broadway show ever- 16 in total- and is widely expected to sweep the awards ceremony this coming Sunday evening.
Set before, during and after the American Revolution, the show tells the story of Alexander Hamilton’s rise from a penniless orphan immigrant to the founder of the American financial system and face on the U.S. $10 bill. The really fascinating part of this show, though, is the way it’s told: a combination of hip-hop, R&B, Brit pop and classic show tunes performed by a cast primarily made up of people of color. The story of the all-white founding fathers told with the music and faces of 2016 America is truly something to behold (I can’t adequately do the brilliance of this show justice. Really, Google it if you’re unfamiliar).
One of the prevailing themes of the show is told through a song that General (later President) George Washington sings to Hamilton when he is finally given a chance to lead some troops in the fight for independence: History Has Its Eyes on You.
The underlying message seems to be, “You’re about to do something big; don’t screw it up. What happens next, how you act, and the aftermath will be told for generations.”
As many Hamilton enthusiasts do, I listen to this soundtrack often. When I got in my car yesterday for the 6-hour drive to Synod, I had some time to kill. I plugged my phone in and pushed play. As I drove closer and closer to Synod, as the anxiety mounted in preparation for what Synod would be discussing this weekend, these songs took on new meaning to me.
Particularly, I’m reminded of the Reformed Church in America’s place in history as the oldest continuing Protestant denomination in the United States. We were around before the actual Alexander Hamilton. History indeed has its eyes on us.
So Reformed Church, as you meet this weekend to discuss matters of human sexuality and debate things like reorientation therapy and same-sex/same-gender marriage and ordination of LGBTQ people, know that what you discuss is big. Don’t screw it up. What happens next, how you act, and the aftermath will be told for generations.