A Subway “Halleluja”

My tired feet dragged me step by step to the shuttle train. Same procedure as ever for a pastor, living and working at two ends of her congregation. A normal New York story of long commutes, short nights and many challenges a large city and ministry brings.

While I swam with the faceless masses of fellow commuters my mind raced like mad. Outwardly calm, words sharp like razor knives echoed in my mind. What a irony while we were celebrating International Day of Peace in New York and all around the world! There are so many things wrong in our world – in every day life! I lamented and lamented in my thoughts while the book case in my hand got increasingly heavier.

As I dragged my way down the grey steps a familiar tune played by a trombone filled the stuffy subway air: Leonard Cohen´s “Halleluja” woke me up from my nightmarish thoughts of one-way-streets and dead ends. The song was like balm on my weary soul. It seemed as if I was told by God that it would be alright in one way or the other sometime.

I had to think of Leonard Cohen´s words when he once was approached by John McKenna in a interview about his famous song “Hallelujah”:

“Finally there’s no conflict between things, finally everything is reconciled but not where we live. This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled but there are moments when we can transcend the dualistic system and reconcile and embrace the whole mess and that’s what I mean by Hallelujah. That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say ‘Hallelujah! Blessed is the name.’ And you can’t reconcile it in any other way except in that position of total surrender, total affirmation. […]

That’s what it’s all about. It says that none of this – you’re not going to be able to work this thing out – you’re not going to be able to set – this realm does not admit to revolution – there’s no solution to this mess. The only moment that you can live here comfortably in these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts is in this moment when you embrace it all and you say ‘Look, I don’t understand a fucking thing at all – Hallelujah! That’s the only moment that we live here fully as human beings.” (1)

Leonhard Cohen´s song escorted me into the new hectic day in busy New York. Not everything would be fine and lots of things would stay a hurtful mystery to me. But in the mean time I would praise God. In the subway and beyond.


(https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/rte.html )

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