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A Broken Hallelujah

There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah...

Jeff Buckley composed a haunting cover, but I prefer the original lyrics of Leonard Cohen's praise entitled Hallelujah. Along with other biblical references Cohen shares, I picture ancient Job, sitting in ashes and sorrow and ridiculed by his wife, lifting his arms and with tear-streaked face, echoing the faithful, grief-born cry of those who set their love upon the Most High:
 
...She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah...


Hallelujah. Or, Praise Yahweh. Praise Jehovah. Praise the Lord. What other word signifies simple trust in the One who engraves us in His hands, than hallelujah?  
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Heb. 13:13-15)
The Sacrifice of Praise

Am I foolish? Am I weak? Hallelujah. Are you despised? Are you base? Hallelujah. God has chosen. He knows the truth in our hearts, and we can offer the sacrifice of praise to the Most High God.  God has chosen. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Let His peace  enfuse quiet to our souls. Let trust fill our hearts. Let our eyes see as His eyes see.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.  But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” (1 Cor.1:26-31)
Rest that you are chosen, and from your lips He draws a hallelujah...


I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
                                           ~ © 1984 Leonard Cohen


Reflections
Please meditate on these words of Paul today, and may the God of hope and healing fill you with comfort and peace.

2 Corinthians 4

1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.

13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

7 comments:

  1. Seriously, that's the best Hallelujah chorus since Handel's.

    Aaaand I need to read 2 Corinthians again. Thanks.

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  2. This brought tears to surface: "...your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen.."

    I needed these today, dear friend.

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  3. I also love Cohen's lyrics and Buckley's interpretation. I was under the impression that the OT reference was to a conglomeration of Samson and Delilah and David and Bathseba, not Job. After numerous Cohen books - lyrics and novel... I think the context he meant for some of the many versions of these lyrics are sexual... or at least much more secular interpretations.

    I first learned of Cohen AND Buckley through my Jesus Posse boys. We'd include this song in our jams - in part because it referenced spiritual ideas. Years later, I started a totally secular blog based on other Cohen lyrics. I'm glad this song led me to these artists. Beautiful melody and poetry.

    My new favorite Cohen is Antony singing "If It Be Your Will."

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  4. Job wasn't included in the song but I can picture him just the same, giving hallelujah despite his horrendous circumstances.

    Thank you, SS, Eric, Tammy and Christine, for your comments. Blessings to you.

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  5. I needed this post today!

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  6. one of my favorite songs, ever - now made even more beautiful because of the scripture you used to enhance it.

    again, a post i needed to read today. thank you.

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