Cohen’s ‘If It Be Your Will’: Song, Prayer, Psalm

This is a great reflection on a very moving song/poem/prayer/psalm by Leonard Cohen, “If It Be Your Will.”

PsalterMark

Leonard Cohen described If It Be Your Will ‘as more of a prayer’ than a song during his introduction to its performance by the Webb Sisters and Neil Larson. Here I suggest that it is not only a prayer but more specifically a psalm.

Even the title is highly suggestive of a key feature of psalmody—an absolute trust in God. As the song unfolds this trust, we see that this commitment to God is founded in a creature-Creator relationship, as the singer’s finitude is sublimely conveyed:

If it be your will, that I speak no more
And my voice be still, as it was before

The frailty of the singer is in little doubt given their own metaphorical claim to be a ‘broken hill’. Is it pushing our reflection too far to imagine this as an oblique reference and contrast to the ‘holy hill’ (Psalm 2:6; 3:4; 15:1; 24:3; 43:3…

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Feelings, Facts, and Faith

Reading this reflection was a true blessing for me, and I think that it will be for all who feel “spiritually weary.”

grace notes

I don’t always “feel” spiritual.

Whatever that means.

Not only that, sometimes I feel positively unspiritual.

Again, whatever that means.

But maybe you can relate. You pray, but it feels like you’re talking to yourself. You read Scripture, but nothing springs out of the text as a joyful surprise or as a source of conviction. You go to church week after week, but wonder, “Is this it?” Your faith and church just doesn’t seem to be working for you like it once did.

I think if we’re honest, we all experience this sort of thing as Christians. Though possibly in different degrees. For some, the experience feels spiritually debilitating. Others have a short season of the spiritual blues.

There’s a word for this: Blah. Or maybe malaise. At more serious times, melancholy. It feels like God is absent. Theologically, it’s called by some “a dark night of…

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Considering Purim during Lent: Seeking and Finding, Darkness and Light, Sorrow and Joy

Here is a very interesting reflection on the festival of Purim, which begins this evening at sunset, and its connection to our Christian lives. I found it very thought-provoking, and I think you will, too.

Building Biblical Bridges

I posted this last year at Purim 2020 – I think it still has some useful ideas for Christian appreciation of the festival and I have enjoyed looking over the material again. Enjoy! 🙂

In the next day or two, Jewish communities around the world will celebrate Purim. The origins of this joyous festival are found in the book of Esther. And while neither Esther nor Purim are particularly well-known by contemporary Christians; as a festival with a biblical foundation, I would like to suggest that there is much to be gained by Christians reflecting upon Purim. This, I believe is particularly true as we journey through the season of Lent and look towards Easter.

The book of Esther tells us why the Purim festival is observed annually. Purim is at the very centre of the book, and indeed, the reading of the Esther story in its entirety forms a…

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