A cold and broken Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
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

Leonard Cohen eh? I know, poetry is sometimes confusing…but this song often speaks to me and every time I read it I feel like a little more mystery is revealed to me.

It also relates to one of the key note speeches at the Justice Conference. Ken Wytsma gave a brilliant talk the last night. It was inspiring and logical and thinking. Ken is the guy who came up with the idea of the Justice Conference a few years ago with his church. And I’d never heard of him before, but he seemed humble and amazing all at once. He talked about how the Justice Conference was a vibrant and organic growing thing. And I could see that. Because one thing that this conference definitely didn’t have was an “American” feel or a static feel. Which was nice because so often movements happen and somewhere along the way it becomes no longer a movement but a statement. And well, statements are useful. But they’re not growing. They aren’t life. They aren’t moving. So I tend to like when movements stay movements.

Anyways, key note speeches and Leonard Cohen….Ken Wytsma said something I have heard, but the example he used I thought was profound. He said that a part of what defines who you are is your mission in life. But you are also a summation of all your loves. I like that. I have heard the same thing, but a little less thoughtfully said. You are the summation of ALL your loves. You can’t take one of your loves away and still be who you are, at least not fully. And that’s so true eh? The example he used to illustrate this was if your daughter was kidnapped and trafficked and you tried everything you could to get her back and failed, there’d be a few things that would be true. Whatever those people did to your daughter, they would do to you. Because you are a summation of all your loves, and your child is one of your loves. But also, if someone finds your daughter and even unbeknownst to you helps her in some way, they do that to you, because you are a summation of all your loves. You and your child can not be separated as two separate entities in that way.

People ask me sometimes why I am involved in the work I do. I usually say I just couldn’t do nothing any longer. And that’s true. But also, I am a summation of my loves. And one of those is God, another is vulnerable people and then of course my kids and my husband and my friends and all those typical things in most everyone’s lives. But I can’t sit on the sidelines knowing God loves people and that all these terrible things are happening and I did nothing to stop it. Although it feels like a poor and shabby excuse for something. It’s not fancy most days, it’s not glamorous. It’s hard. It’s difficult. It feels like death some days. But I can’t imagine someone not doing something for my son or my daughter if they were caught up in the most horrific situation of their life. Can you? So how can I sit back and do nothing? And this is not to sit in judgement on anyone. I think in general most people are doing something to impact somewhere in their lives on something they just can’t let be.

But just like Leonard says, “it doesn’t matter which you heard, the holy or the broken hallelujah” That’s how I feel most days. I know I’m not an expert in this field. I don’t know I even aspire to be one. I just want to do my part, my piece. That’s enough. My work, today’s work is enough. And I just want to encourage you that in your work, it’s enough. Take hope friend. It’s enough.


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