Today I heard a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah”. The lyrics had been changed to reflect a more “Christian” version.
I have always been a little troubled by the original lyrics by Leonard Cohen. They are a little provocative and edgy – which I guess was the point of why he wrote them. But for someone like me who was raised in the church, there was always something missing from them, much as I liked the music.
As I reflect on Easter weekend, the death and resurrection of our Lord, it is with a certain somber sweetness. There never are enough adequate words each year as we celebrate new life in Christ. For this reason, music has always been an outlet of expression. Songs like “Hosanna”, “Agnus Dei” and “The Wonderful Cross” sung by Michael W. Smith have special meaning. A meaning that takes me back several years when the staff of our church went to a late night premier of “The Passion of the Christ”. It was the following morning in the shower when I was listening to “The Wonderful Cross” that I could not stop sobbing because the meaning was so poignantly clear.
The longer I have lived, the more I am lulled to sleep by repetition, rhetoric and yes, even the same Bible verses over and over again. But when music is added to the equation, something special happens for me. I want things to be fresh and new and I look for ways to have that happen in my own life.
Recently we have become a part of a local church body. Youth and seniors. New and old. Depth of experience and fresh uncharted territory. All in an attempt to forge forward and yet have things remain the same to find a different and yet a new way to tell the story. Over and over again. It’s all about the empty cross, the empty grave and the resurrection. Nothing much else matters. Not style or tradition, not repetition or change. People come and go – but the message remains constant. This is what the church is about. We don’t just “do” church. We live it and find that personal place where change happens deep within.
But if you, like me – find yourself reflecting in the same manner as previous years - find songs like the ones I mentioned above and watch the video I have posted below. This is fresh and new. Same story and message. Different lyrics and music. All in an effort to challenge, and change us from the inside out. May we never be lulled to sleep and take for granted the wonder, the miracle of new birth and everlasting life that was bought with a very high price.
Happy Resurrection to all of you!
Lyrics belong to Kelly Mooney. Her story and the song are below: