Hallelujah – a better thought on Christian words and Popular Songs

I’m not sure that my last post on the Christianized version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ really added clarity to the debate- although I enjoyed the discussion. I had another thought today about the re-wording of the song and Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:

1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Seems to me that putting half-baked words about Jesus to a super-popular tune is the opposite of Paul’s practice of avoiding fancy rhetoric and focusing on the cross. Paul wanted the content of his message to dominate his form. But with the use of such an iconic tune, the form will almost inevitably (and perhaps purposefully) overwhelm any gospel content the words might bring. This is especially the case with the words in question, which are less than profound.

Coincidentally I was reminded of the power of this particular tune when the secretary at a friends firm gave an stunning a cappella rendition of it while I was there for a prayer meeting today. Apparently this is part of the service you now receive when you do business with this firm – service with a song!

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