I was at a musical event the other night, and one of the songs was titled “Hallelujah.” It was not the familiar tune from my childhood in which we pitted boys against girls (or one side of the room versus the other) and sang/shouted in turn, “hallelujah” and “praise ye the Lord.” Nor was it the grand Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Nope, I’m pretty sure it was a drinking song – oops! (And in my opinion, not a very good one at that, although the group is very talented and has written some pretty good songs).
I find it fascinating how many biblical references appear throughout our culture today, of which most people are unaware. Take the word “holiday” for example. Some folks are offended when the traditional greeting of “Merry Christmas” is replaced with “holiday” wishes. And yet, even that greeting finds its roots in the ancient practice of setting aside certain days as holy. (And furthermore I’m reminded that the word “holy” is related to the word “whole,” which is a reminder to me that God is in the business of restoring broken things back to their intended state of wholeness).
So was Christ “in” that gathering? Well, if by that you mean was he “lifted up” or “glorified” as such, I’d have to say no, of course not. So where was he? Well, how about in the gifting of the musicians as they played their instruments? How about in the songs they sang, insofar as they captured the (sometimes sad) truth of human experience? How about in the community as they came together to celebrate part of their history? And what about his unseen working in the lives of every individual there, if we believe God is truly in the process of reconciling all things to himself?
It is part of our nature as human beings to need to name things. It is our way of making sense in our world, and we feel safe when things have been named/defined for us. But what if we were less concerned with naming/defining gatherings, music, books, etc. as “Christian,” and focused more on looking for Christ in all things? Because he is . . . in all things.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-19)
(photo courtesy of morguefile.com)