Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hallelujah?

Many church songs contain the word "Hallelujah". It means "praise the Lord", which is, I guess, a reminder to keep doing what you are theoretically already doing. I've noticed that worship leaders will often add several Hallelujahs onto the end of a song, sortof like an extra verse that no one bothered to come up with words for. I don't really mind, though, although this post has had a bit of a cynical ring to it up until now. I like the word Hallelujah; it's a rich and meaningful word, and sometimes it's nice to sing it a few times in a row.

But in church this morning, while we were singing a song, a new page of words came up on the projector. It was a string of Hallelujahs, so I assumed that it was going to be the typical "repeat Hallelujah to the melody of the song we were just singing." But then the piano changed, and the worship team broke into what sounded eerily like the chorus of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". It's a pretty song, but singing it in church seems a little bit to me like singing "I Will Always Love You" at a wedding. Of course no one else noticed, so I was probably just imagining it, but Jeremy seemed to know what I was talking about when I whispered to him, "I can't do this, it's just wrong!"

But then again, kudos to the worship team for snagging a great tune and using it. And why not? I once sang "The Greatest Love of All" at a church camp with all of the references to self changed to make the song about loving God. If I could do that, then why can't we sing a broken hallelujah in church? In fact, on reading over the lyrics, maybe I was a bit too hasty. What could be more church-appropriate than the sentiment, "And even though / It all went wrong / I'll stand before the lord of song / With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah"?

I think where I really went wrong, however, was in making two references to Whitney Houston songs in one post. For that, I'm pretty sure I should perish.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The cantor at our synagogue often sets some of the songs to showtunes. People ALWAYS notice!

Your Mom Prints Zines said...

You can save yourself from the two-Whitney-Houston-songs-in-one-post peril by classifying "I Will Always Love You" as a Dolly Parton song since it's actually hers.

tim said...

Sing "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun"

Novac said...

"Amazing Grace" is even better sung to the tune of the Gilligan's Island theme.

I think that "Amen" is also abused quite a bit. I'd bet that 80% of Christians think that "Amen" means "The end." I suppose your church could sing the theme to the old Sherman Helmsley TV show "Amen."

Anonymous said...

what are praise-n-worship songs but pop anyway?