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Broken Hallelujah

March 1, 2014

The other day, I got an email from my father in which little Brazilian wonder kids were singing the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah.

Even though I didn't understand the words (my husband later told me the lyrics were changed), but I could see the emotion on their faces as they sang Hallelujah! I often listen to to the original Leonard Cohen version and try to fully enter into the emotion and the words that are sung. It is not a Christian song like the ones we are used to singing at church. But to me, it certainly seems very Christian because of its brutal honesty as it talks about the full experience of human brokenness, struggle, and our need for God.

Brokenness is a fact of life, we can see and experience it every day and find it everywhere we turn. We enter into it by talking to a friend struggling with health problems, helping a child say sorry to someone they hurt, praying for the healing of our world. It finds its way into our lives through unhealthy relationships, unresolved issues, hardened hearts. The older I get, the more accustomed I have become to experiencing and seeing brokenness all around me. Sometimes it is just too much! It is so tempting to just close my eyes to it and turn the other way.

However, it is by looking at our brokenness--with the help of God and our fellow believers--that we can enter into the state of the Broken Hallelujah. It is a state of healing and integrating brokenness into our lives in a way that allows us to sing Hallelujah once more as a renewed child of God. In his book The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen, talks about how God uses our own experience of brokenness to help those who are in the middle of struggling with it. In this season of Lent, we are encouraged not to run away from our wounds, but address them head on. At our last retreat, you got a lot of wonderful tools to deal with everyday struggles, big or small. In their previous blog entries, Lynne and Maryanne reminded us of the importance of our connection to God and one another as we deal with life. I know that in the end God will use our own broken hallelujahs to bring wholeness and healing to those who need it. May we all sing the broken and honest Hallelujah for the glory of God!

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