It’s been a while since I’ve tackled a topic from “The Twenty” list, but I’m refusing to quit on it. I’ll be honest, I’ve been avoiding this topic because I didn’t have a good answer…at least not one that didn’t make me look heartless or spineless :) Typically, I would fight back or I would just agree to avoid conflict.
But, in the last couple of months, I’ve been learning just how true the wise old saying “kill them with kindness” really is. And, as simple & cliche it may sound, it’s also quite Biblical…you know…“love your enemies,” “pray for those who persecute you,”…those things.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I don’t always handle negative people by killing them with kindness. But, I have really been intentional lately about trying to confront negativity with grace. And do you know something, I’ve found that most of the time it actually works?
Unexpected grace disarms people.
Validating people’s opinions even while disagreeing disarms people.
Not throwing a punch back disarms people.
Yes, the “stubborn always wants to be right” part of me still screams when confronted with negativity, but if I lean into the Spirit, grace screams louder.
*This is the thirteenth post in a series of twenty. For more on the background, check out this post.
I first paid attention to this song after watching this video with Brene Brown done by The Work of the People…which I highly recommend making 6.5 minutes to watch! The lyric that stuck with me at that time was “love is not a victory march, it’s a cold & it’s a broken hallelujah.” And I still think there is a ton of beauty in that line.
But, since first looking up the lyrics back in January, this song has come up time & again. I paid attention to it once again this past weekend & as I read the lyrics repeatedly, more lines stuck out at me. The two that are sticking with me these days? “The baffled king composing Hallelujah” – even in mystery, confusion, not knowing, we can…and should say “hallelujah!!” The other:“And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song, with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah.” Wow!! Whether or not things turn out the way we desire or the way we thought they would, we can and ought to say “hallelujah.”
I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a 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
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
There are hundreds of opinions on what the “intended meaning” of these lyrics are, but what if we just take them as they are…art…& let them impact us how they will? Each one of us differently. And be okay with that.
Any lines in particular stand out to you?
Because my step-mom chased my dad, my dad had an affair.
Because my dad had an affair my parents got divorced.
Because people in our church mishandled things including my parents divorce we changed churches.
Because we changed churches & my mom battled depression we moved.
Because we moved I had to change schools.
Because I changed schools & because we had moved churches we heard of St. Croix Lutheran High School.
Because my parents were divorced & my dad wanted me to be independent he paid for me to go to St. Croix Lutheran High School.
Because I went to St. Croix I taught Vacation Bible School one summer in Chicago.
Because I taught Vacation Bible School in Chicago I discovered a passion for urban education.
Because I had a passion for urban education & teachers at St. Croix who were alumni I heard of Wisconsin Lutheran College.
Because I went to Wisconsin Lutheran College & had a passion for urban education I got involved at St. Marcus Lutheran Church.
Because I got involved at St. Marcus Lutheran Church I met Pastor Ski & his family.
My junior year of college I got sick & could hardly walk.
Because I could hardly walk I couldn’t work with the kids at St. Marcus like I used to.
Because I couldn’t work with the kids & because I critiqued Pastor Ski’s PowerPoints, he asked me if I wanted to create them.
Because he asked me to create PowerPoints & I liked technology my pastor sent me to the Echo Conference.
Because I went to the Echo conference I heard Camron Ware, Stephen Proctor, & Nate Griffin talk about the concept of Visual Worship.
Because I heard about Visual Worship & because I now worked at a church my pastor sent me to more conferences including one called Dirt…something out of nothing.
Because I went to Dirt I had a conversation with Stephen Proctor around the very concept of Visual Worship & flashy motion backgrounds.
Because I had a conversation with Stephen Proctor I heard about the Visual Worship Roundtable.
Because I went to the Visual Worship Roundtable in St. Louis I also wanted to attend the one in Nashville.
Because I went to the VWRT in Nashville I was homesick when I left but not before I met a guy by the name of Paul Briney.
Because I met Paul Briney God shouted through him what He’d been trying to whisper to me for months.
Because God shouted I knew He was calling me away from where I was at.
Because God was calling me from where I was at I knew I had to go but I wasn’t sure where He was calling me to.
Because I wasn’t sure where God was calling me to but because I had been homesick after leaving Nashville & knew 2 people there, I decided to make it home.
Because I decided to make Nashville home I began working with a friend.
Because I began working with a friend I met a friend of his, Chad Jarnigan.
Because I met Chad Jarnigan & because I have a passion for Visual Worship that grew into a passion for the intersection of art & faith & worship, I sat in a room of 30 or so amazing people who happen to be influencers this morning.
Because I sat in a room of 30 or so amazing people who happen to be influencers this morning I heard about a vision Chad Jarnigan has. A vision that is rooted in breathing life & light into the things we create to breathe life & light into the world around us.
All because of a decision my dad made when I was 5 years old.
All of that is just plain crazy to me!!! But, it also leaves me in absolute awe of what an incredible God we serve that He is that involved in the details.
And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
Do you see God at work in the details? Ordering your steps?