Monday, February 14, 2011

A Broken Hallelujah

Do you ever lose yourself in a song? It's late, you're driving home through the soft rain and you're alone with music. You start the drive in a perfectly normal mood but by the time you pull into your driveway, you're feeling quiet, and maybe even alone in a strange way. You might be with a friend, but somehow the music takes you to a place inside yourself where nobody can follow.

My night ended like that. Michael and I were driving home from a friend's house but after some time with the music, I found myself out of words. This is one of the things I love most about music- it can speak to places in our hearts that words sometimes can't. It reminds us, if we let it, that there is more to us than just the outer clamor and clutter of our lives; there is more than we tend to acknowledge.

But why do we hide from ourselves? Why does it take a moving song on a silent drive or a surprisingly beautiful poem or a stunning piece of art or ballet to remind us of who we are? I think more often than not it's because who we are underneath is hurting. When we experience something truly beautiful often it makes us weep because it reminds us that we're in pain; afraid, lonely, and grieving. We've been hurt. We've mourned loss. We don't know what to do with ourselves and the questions our own pain poses, so we bury it. We hide what we really feel, what we really think...behind constant background noise and distraction- behind busyness and meaningless activity- behind snacks, movies, wine, ceaseless chattering.

But when I was reminded of myself tonight- when I came in contact with my loneliness, my pain, my grief, I realized something. Even if Michael can't go with me to every memory, every tear, every loss, Someone else can. There was One who was there through all of it- who not only sees my pain but understands it and who can comfort me in it. Sometimes we think of God as this Triumphant Hero (which He is), or this Positive Force (which He is) or this Being who makes us "feel good" (which He does!) But He is more than that. He has suffered too. He has been alone too. In fact, He did those things for our sake.

The song I got lost in tonight was "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright, and I heard some lyrics that made me think of Christ.

"Love is not a victory march, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah"

Now I need to be careful here, because God is most certainly victorious. But He also was broken for us. "This is my body, which is broken for you, and my blood, which is shed for you." God in Christ allowed Himself to be utterly broken on the Cross; completely surrounded by darkness- for our sake. In that moment He took on Himself all my loss, all my painful moments, all the abuse I received and dealt, so that I could have newness of life. I think of Him hanging on that tree, bruised and broken, and at the end breathing "Hallelujah." It is finished. The price has been paid for Hannah. I've given myself for her that even in her pain, she may have hope. What better picture of Love is there?

We don't need to hide who are are underneath; we don't need to stuff our pain with distraction because there is hope in Christ to face it...all of who we are and all of our hurt.

I've been here before
heart spilled on the floor
knees brown from hitting the ground
three feet inside the door.

You were there too-
I remember You
You knelt down with me on the ground
and you held me like you knew.

...You swept my heart up, too.

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