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Music and the Spoken Word: How to face tragedy with courage and confidence

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Nov. 4, 2018.

Recent events remind us that bad things happen to good people. Too often, senseless tragedies wrench our souls — whether the victims live in our own community or on the other side of the world.

When such tragedy strikes, we might be tempted to despair, concluding that the world’s evil outweighs its goodness.

But there’s something else that happens in the wake of horrible events, something that sparks hope: In the process of mourning with those who mourn (see Mosiah 18:9), we remember that we share a common humanity, a brotherhood, sisterhood.

We realize that although we look, believe and think differently, we share this small space in the universe, and we need each other. When one group or individual suffers, we all do. So we help one another through difficulties and trials, because that’s the only way we can move forward in the face of suffering.

In reality, then, tragic events can actually reaffirm to us that there are still far more people in this world who love than who hate. More people unite and support than divide and disparage. More people are civil and kind than disrespectful and angry. Yes, we face a steep climb toward the higher ground of forgiveness, but our footholds are compassion, respect and always, always love.

Rabbi Harold Kushner noted that in declaring, “The Lord is my shepherd,” the Psalmist was not saying “that bad things will never happen to us. (But) we will not have to face those bad things alone.”

“We can get up every morning to face (the) world,” Rabbi Kushner continued, “because we know that there is Someone … who cares about us. … God … makes the world seem less frightening. … The newspaper headlines will still speak of violence and tragedy. … But we will be able to face the world with more courage and more confidence because we will not be facing it alone."

We’re truly in this together. We need voices of peace. We need hearts of love. We need souls that respect our shared humanity — who generate light instead of heat. In other words, we need each other. In the end, hate will not win; goodness will. Ultimately, evil does not rule the day; love does — and always will.

Voices of peace and hearts of love are never alone.

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143) and on the Tabernacle Choir's website and YouTube channel. The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org.

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