We need to have a bit of fun and so I think it is time to take a few swings at Leonard Cohen’s achingly beautiful song, “Hallelujah,” that for some perverse reason has now become, “A Christmas song.”
First off, I’m going to stomp my feet and insist that love is indeed, a victory march. Love conquered all and love is now seated in victory at the right hand of the Father. It is a done deal. The march has ended in victory. We are now seated in heavenly places with Jesus. So we fight from a place of victory, and not towards it. Victory is not an elusive thing, it is right there in His outstretched hand.
With all good gallows humor, we really do need to remember that truth because love is messy, excruciatingly painful, a total train wreck, and sure to often feel like a cold and broken hallelujah, at best. The thing is, feelings never tell the whole story.
Recently some people with far more musical ability than I, got to re-writing the lyrics to broken “Hallelujah” and had me just rolling on the floor, darn near choking it was so hysterically funny. I would completely plagiarize their work in the name of good comedy, but I guess you would have had to be there to understand. Just trust me, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” being sung to the plaintive despair of, “she broke your throne and she cut your hair,” is really good for a belly laugh.
Rudolph should totally sue for employment discrimination, but I digress.
Which brings me to my main point, what a pathetic, pity party, poor-me-song this really is! I’ve never paid much attention to it until we were taking apart the lyrics and trying to sing, “Frosty the Snowman” to the tune of, “I did my best, it wasn’t much, I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch.” I about died laughing imagining Frosty saying those words. You think you got problems, Frosty melts into a complete puddle.
“Maybe there’s a God above, but all I’ve ever learned of love, was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.”
There IS a God above! And if all you’ve ever learned of love is how to protect yourself, well than you’ve learned nothing at all. You’ve also learned nothing of gun fights, because when someone outdraws you it’s not like they’re going wait around patiently for you to figure it out and start shooting back. I suppose it is bad form to pick apart someone’s metaphors, I am just saying.
“There’s a blaze of light in every word, it doesn’t matter which you heard, the Holy or the broken hallelujah.” Now I rather like those lyrics, the life lesson hidden there, the wisdom. It matters which you heard, the Holy or the broken. It really matters. Our lives are much like that, we have a choice about what we are going to see, what we are going to hear, and what stories we are going to tell ourselves and those around us.
I am certainly not the first to lament Leonard Cohen’s haunting song, nor to change the lyrics and pick it apart, and perhaps that’s where the magic really is, in that little bit of human defiance that simply insists, No Leonard, love is not a broken hallelujah, but rather, love is the very essence of who God is.
And sadly, when we don’t know Him, nearly everything we try to do in life is going to be much like an act of trying to shoot at someone who outdrew you.