Another Hallelujah

We hope your time of worship with God’s people yesterday was sweet and honoring to God. We shared times of worship with Polish members of God’s family over the weekend. The first was at a small Catholic church and the other at an outdoor festival in the plaza of a large Catholic cathedral.

On Saturday we played a paired-down acoustic set of worship songs and hymns. It was literally unplugged. We’d brought a small sound system but quickly realized it wasn’t necessary. Our voices and acoustic guitars could easily be heard in a room designed for such music. Though the small congregation didn’t know our music, even hymns that are well-known in the West (“This Is My Father’s World,” “Be Thou My Vision,” “For the Beauty of the Earth”), they sang a simple “oh, oh” on “Death in His Grave.”

Toward the end of the set, we played a song called “Another Hallelujah,” which is a Lincoln Brewster rendition of the timeless Leonard Cohen song (simply “Hallelujah”). The Jeff Buckley version posthumously won much acclaim, but most people in the U.S. know the Shrek version. (Personally, my favorite is k.d. lang’s.) I thought the folks would easily be able to sing the chorus, which simply repeats “hallelujah, hallelujah,” not unlike liturgies/litanies. But their eyes brightened to the melody of the verse, Brewster’s version of which has markedly different lyrics — a song of adoration and thanksgiving, rather than Cohen’s haunting, sad original. Our small congregation joined in on the chorus immediately. We learned later that they know the song well. So there we were thousands of miles from home singing with other believers a song of worship.

We decided to add it to our full band set the following day at the festival. Now, understand that we’ve never played it all together. But that’s how good your band is. Put a chart in front of them and they play it like they’ve been doing it for years. They played it wonderfully and the festival-goers responded similar to the previous day’s audience. So, the song will stay in our set for the next couple performances.

There is far more I’d like to share, but we’re about to check out of our hotel and head to a different city for the next two days. I actually woke up early this morning — around 7:45 — due to the fact that we went to sleep for the first time before 2:30 am. The Polish people like to stay up late, I’m coming to understand.

Please pray for our travels today and our performance tonight, which precedes the ball. We’ve been made aware, sad for some, elated for others, that there will not actually be any dancing at the ball. Though, Jacque and I may try to make a go of it!


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