“In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, how do you measure a year in a life?”
These lyrics are from the song “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical, RENT. Set in the 1980s during the height of the AIDS crisis in New York City, the musical is about the story of eight friends throughout the course of a year. Through hardship, loss, and grief, eight young people learn that to measure your life, you measure it in love. With great success, the show has been one that has defined a generation, given voice to the voiceless and is usually an introduction to musical theatre to young people. When I saw the film adaption in 2005, I knew it would be a show that would live with me forever.
One of the reasons I love RENT, other than the catchy music that I keep the sheet music to, is that the theme of measuring your life in love is shown through the diversity of the characters. With a focus on people of color, LGBTQ+ people, women, and people living with HIV/AIDS, RENT gives the spotlight of the story to characters who, in the context musical theater, would not ordinarily get to be the heroes. The outcasts are the ones who show how to love with everything you have. I believe the musical is a wonderful example of showing Christ’s love through a diverse set of characters and the story is about loving people who look different, think different, and perhaps love in a different way from you.
My favorite verse in all of scripture is 1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” I even have this scripture on a t-shirt! It is with love that we know God as God knows us. It is with love that we are the hands and feet of Christ, to spread love throughout our communities and then the world. It is with love that we measure our lives, and I believe that if we know a gracious God, then we have a blessed life indeed. It is with love that we measure our lives, not in what we do or how we do it, but by the people we love and the love we have for God.
I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, other than the candy you can get on sale the day after. That said, after all we have been through, I hope we remember that to measure your life is to remember to love. We love God, we love the outcasts just as Jesus did, and we love each other as we try and love ourselves. We love and do not fear because the everlasting love of God is with us all, no matter our race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ability. This month, and every month, remember to measure your life in love. In each year, we have five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. How will you measure the rest of 2021? I hope not in the progress against the coronavirus or in political relations, but in love.
“Remember the love, you know that love is a gift from up above. Share love, give love, and spread love!”