By now, Hamilton has made its impact on people all over the world. Among other praises for the musical, people are awed by Phillipa Soo’s performance as Elizabeth Schuyler particularly in the final half an hour of the play.
There comes a point in It’s Quiet Uptown when Eliza takes hold of Alexander’s hand while the chorus sings:
This moment has been hailed by many as one of the most moving in the entire show. There is something about Eliza’s decision, her action to forgive her husband in such an awful, “unimaginable” time, which has been met with both disbelief and appreciation.
Some have proclaimed that they think it’s fantastic that Eliza forgave him, but that they would never be able to do such a thing. Some go as far as to hold a grudge against the memory of Alexander Hamilton for doing the things he did to hurt her and their family, refusing to respect him at all for who he was or what he achieved.
Others perhaps can’t quite place why they are so moved by this moment, but their hearts are stirred all the same.
Why is it that so many of us are so deeply stirred at Eliza’s taking hold of her husband’s hand?
I think it’s because we all know what it feels like to need forgiveness, but not deserve it. We all know how it feels to be in Alexander Hamilton’s position, pleading for even the smallest grace.
That’s not to say that we have all committed the acts that he did. But regardless of how big or how small our betrayal has been, we know what it is to need what we do not deserve from another person.
Perhaps Eliza’s decision to forgive reminds us of the grace that was shown us; of how relieved and grateful we were for such kindness, such an act of love… or perhaps it reminds us that we were not shown grace. Perhaps it reminds us that we are still guilty; that we are still in need of forgiveness.
There is a grace more powerful than any brokenness, any hopelessness, any desperation. It is a grace that can be named: the grace that Jesus Christ offers.
The God who has seen everything we have ever done to destroy the people and the world that He values so much, everything we have done to betray Him… He still loves us – He loves you – with such ferocity and desire that He offers forgiveness for every misdeed, every betrayal that you and I have ever committed if only we would turn to Him.
He is reaching out for us to experience the power of that moment, of the love, the healing… of the harmony of forgiveness.
Can you imagine?