Yesterday morning while trying to summon the energy to get out of bed, I was thinking about the recent debate about appropriate UU worship music. Don’t ask me, my mind goes to weird places when trying to justify my body’s sloth. I started thinking about writing a blog post defending so-called 7/11 style praise music. I grew up with these songs, as well as hymns, and many of them will be engrained in my brain until I die. One simple song consisting of just the word Hallelujah repeated with a peaceful and almost lullaby like melody floated into my mind and just stayed there.
After sending Tall Daughter E off to school I had a few minutes to meditate before waking up Tiny Daughter M. As I sat down and tried to focus on my breath, that song just kept cycling through my thoughts and refused to go away. Since I had just been thinking about praise music as a form of religious chanting I decided to work with it instead of fighting it. I generally stay away from Christian terminology in my practices, but I wanted to see where this went so I used the song I couldn’t get rid of anyway as a chant.
Now I know, OK? I know what hallelujah really means. I know it is an exhortation to praise specifically the deity known as YHWH, a deity I reject. I hope that my intentional miss-use of the term doesn’t offend those who use it in a more traditional manner because I sure did appropriate the heck out of it and change its subjective meaning to my own needs.
Having said that… I really enjoyed the results of my experimentation. The melody is so familiar to me from childhood that I never had to think about it at all, which helped me to really be in the moment. The hallelujah that I breathed in and out me became an expression of deep gratitude for everything. I experienced amazement as the intricate interconnectivity of the universe and personal gratitude for my small existence and my part in it. It was a humbling and amazing moment. I don’t really know why this particular combination of notes and syllables worked for me so well. I don’t think there is any magic in the phrase itself, but maybe it is there in the memories.
Then I got up and rousted the daughter from bed because life goes on after the mat. All morning the memory of that moment stayed with me like the song. Hallelujah.