‘Tis The Season — For A Broken Alleluia
A sharing with Barbara Mayer
Sedona AZ (December 20, 2012)
Once again the old refrains are trying to gain their annual place in this sacred season for many religions and belief systems. ‘Tis the Season’ the jingle bells echo, but this season cannot ring true without acknowledging the horrific carnage which occurred at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut.
And sure enough, some people are again arguing about archaic ideas such as “How can a God of Love allow this to happen?” By doing that they perpetuate the concept that some distant divine being is a Master Puppeteer who can be blamed for every sin, crime or negative action that occurs on this planet. The air waves and Internet are also filled with furious arguments from those who call for stricter gun control laws while others are demanding mandates that all teachers and school principals carry loaded firearms. The partisanship which roared during the election and continues now in a stale-mated government and divided populace is stringent, offensive, and non-productive.
Yet in the midst of such chaos the old songs still call for a celebrative Alleluia about peace and good will among women and men in this season of Light and Loving Rebirth.
What is the real truth? Is some Master Puppeteer to blame for Sandy Hook and all other human atrocities? Of course not. Earth is a place where free will and personal responsibility create or help destroy the delicate human fabric of its people. Anyone who lives in the attitude of violence, distrust, negativity, hatred and blame helps create and continue the climate of destruction — rather than positive nurturing where life can flourish and the human heart can reach its preordained fullness.
Of course I need not look any farther than my own mirror to find times when my own darkness or narrow impatience has kept me from living the words which so easily flow from my pen. The call for selfless compassion and honest, open-hearted love is easy to talk about, yet often a challenge to truly manifest when life demands living those words every hour of every day.
Leonard Cohen’s haunting song “Alleluia” is making the rounds right now, probably because it mentions a broken alleluia – the painful realization that we ourselves might have too often failed to love, respect and forgive in adequate measure. In the numbing agony of witnessing the deaths of twenty precious children, and the six courageous women who sacrificed their own lives to protect and shield those entrusted to their care, we need our hearts to be broken. We also need true resolve to stop the idiocy of championing the possession of high caliber combat-ready weapons by any mentally ill person out there with the money or connections to have them.
T.S. Eliot wrote that the world will not end with a bang, but with a whimper. As we move into 2013 with hope and perhaps very laudable intentions, let us search our own attitudes and actions — revisiting times when we have allowed the much heralded 2012 to end as we are witnessing it now– with the soft sadness of whimpers from too many anguished hearts and equally too much pain.
I choose to take this cracked and halting and broken alleluia very much to my own conscience and heart. I have helped create it.
I also give thanks that, in spite of it all, I have not yet forgotten how to sing.
Barbara Mayer is an interfaith minister who lives in Sedona, Arizona.