by Will Searcy
As I sat with my family in our pew on Easter Sunday, I was truly happy. It has been three years since my mother passed, and sitting with all my siblings and father, our family felt as close to whole as I have felt since that time. In fact, in all the hurry before church to prepare for Easter dinner and then to get the children ready and get to church in time to save seats so we could all sit together, I had not thought of my mother at all that morning. Then, something most unexpected happened.
The band and choir in the church reduced in number to a single piano and the lead singer’s voice. The piano played a familiar tune, one that was among my mother’s favorite songs, except this was not a song typically heard in church. Upon the first note, many emotions rushed into my heart – longing, melancholy, sadness, but also bittersweet joy and the overwhelming sense of being touched by something more than mere coincidence. It was the sense of God, though not using a voice, breaking through the concrete walls we often build around ourselves and reminding me that He is here, and not only that, but He is risen.
Though the tune of Leonard Cohen’s popular, “Hallelujah” was familiar, I could tell by the first words that this was different, and it nearly made the cry in my heart leap out of my throat.
“A crown of thorns placed on His head, He knew that He would soon be dead, He said did you forget me Father did you?”
What a beautifully human sentiment from the being that was fully man and fully God! How often have we all felt that exact sense of loneliness, of abandonment, of condemnation? And when I thought of my mother, I thought of all those difficult emotions I battled in accepting that it was time for the Lord to call her home. I can see now, and was blessed by His grace to see somewhat then, how God’s timing in when He called my mother home was perfect. I cannot speak for others, but I can see in my own life how it has forced me to grow, how it has made me a better father just as I was beginning that journey, and most importantly, how it has made me draw closer to God. And in that moment, as those words were being sung, I leaned on Him. I leaned heavily.
The song is absolutely beautiful, and I recommend taking the time to hear Kelley Mooney’s story of writing the song and her performance with an incredible children’s choir. I share this, not only so you can hear this blessing of a song, but also in the hope that my experience can serve as a reminder for you in your struggles. We all are damaged, in some way or another, and often the busyness of life does not allow us to spend the time necessary to fully process and let go of all our pains. However, there is someone working beyond our Earthly constraints, and He is not bound by time or imagination. He loves us. He loves us more than we can imagine. And, when we least expect it, or when we need it the most, He reminds us that He is here, and He always will be.