Composing Hallelujah

Have you ever heard a line in a song that, no matter how many times you listen to it, it always just sort of tugs on your heart?  For me, it is the following lyrics from Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah”.

But remember when I moved in you,
And the Holy Dove was moving too,
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah?

Most people who know me know that one of my favorite ways to pray is to write God letters in a prayer journal I keep.  It’s a habit I picked up when I was younger.  For Christmas one year, my grandparents on my mom’s side got all of the families what they called “Prayer Boxes”.  The idea was that, throughout the year, we were to write letters to God whenever we felt like it and put them into the box.  Once they were in the box, they were out of our hands and out of our control—they had been given to God.  So writing letters to God became a way I liked to pray.  Today I keep my letters in a journal, but the idea is the same.  I like to think of them as letters to my best friend, or just love letters to my King.

But as much as I love writing letters to God, this practice makes one very well aware of the deficiency of human language.  I cannot tell you how many times I have sat down to pray in the chapel with my journal, overcome with either love, joy, stress, pain, or heartache—and yet I can’t get more than two words written on the page.  Usually, all that escapes me in those times is just a simple sigh.

And then I think of the words of Saint Paul; and I am reminded that sometimes words are just simply unnecessary.

“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”

-Romans 8:26

If we have true love, we won’t always have the words to articulate it.  This is because true love goes beyond words.  Authentic love is so consuming that it even changes the way we draw breath.

“But remember when I moved in you, and the Holy Dove was moving too, and every breath we drew was Hallelujah?”

These are lyrics that both break my heart and call me back to that consuming love each time I hear them.  They are beautiful lyrics of a love song that capture but a small glimpse of a love that is too deep for words.