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Ruth Mave: The power of any message lies in the singer, not the song

Monday 10 July 2023 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion


Ruth Mave: The power of any message lies in the singer, not the song
Leonard Cohen. 23070907

Hallelujah is a song originally penned and sung by Leonard Cohen that has been sung by many singers where some elevate the song greater than others, writes Ruth Mave.

Beyond its first incomprehensible lyric many of us remember and are entranced by its chorus, the title Hallelujah.

I say incomprehensible because it is hard to make sense of why ‘the chord the fourth to fifth’ has anything to do with pleasing the Lord? - if you are not musically inclined.  Listening to the song being delivered with reverence by Jon Bovi, Willie Nelson or Susan Boyle you come to realise in your soul that the song can hold you in an ethereal state if sung well. You don’t have to know much about music to appreciate its magnitude and power to be able to move and transcend you from the combination of eight notes.

Similarly, if there is a song you know and love and someone tries to sing it in a way you don’t like or it doesn’t affect and move you the same way - you are less likely to listen.

Life is like that especially with good educators who can turn the dullest subject into a riveting experience compelling the desire to learn and know more where others drone on so the special context of the subject is lost on their audience.

 I once heard a radio station have Tom Hiddleston a British actor most commonly known as Loki in the Thor movies read the mathematical explanation of E = MC2.  Now the subject is famously boring for the most part of the population who have no interest or no IQ in quantum physics but when Tom explained it with his accent you – I, couldn’t help but listen.

This is also true for the final summations by a lawyer to a jury with regards to a case on trial. The law remains the same for everyone but the interpretation of it, its application and the lawyer’s delivery of it can create opposing results and beliefs depending on who the jury resounds with; as can be seen in several programs of Law and Order, Suits and Jodi Piccoult books.

The bible has been read and preached to Cook Islanders for over 200 hundred years and over those years many have been either enlightened or discouraged to follow due to the nature and delivery of the message.

When I was younger, I regularly attended Sunday School and church. I took my scripture exams and won a couple of bibles that I still have to this day.  But if I felt the person preaching from the pulpit came across as more ego than holiness or didn’t walk the talk, I, like others lose interest and leave.

I met Ngatangiia’s CICC Orometua in the building shop. Armed with saw and nails he waited in line behind me. Jokingly I said how Jesus was a carpenter and he is a carpenter it made some sense to me.  When I went to check out my card was not accepted due to dialing issues.  It was taking so long the others in line were diverted to another till. While I tried to pay, the employee said my purchase had been paid by the Orometua. I looked he was gone and I said “Gee, I will have to go to church on Sunday now.”

A couple of weeks later I was in the building shop and he was there again. We spoke about our last encounter I thanked him, and I said how I went to church.  Yes, he said “I saw you, but that is not the reason I paid. I am here to help my people in any way I can.” He is also a fisherman and calls in on the infirmed and elderly and delivers fresh fish to them.

If God is omnipresent and omnipotent, he knows what is the truth of my heart and actions I don’t need the walls of the church around me to know and feel that. The words in the Bible are the same for everyone to read, it is a rare gift to find a person who can deliver those words in speech and actions, that make you feel you want to be part of their church religion or congregation. The missionaries said our ancestors wasted time worshipping a piece of wood but in Europe they still worship gold statues of Jesus.

Introducing a one peaceful God brought our fighting tribes together to live in harmony and despite differences our people and elements of our cultural traditions continue to survive. For that we should be grateful.

The missionaries said there is only one God but now there are over 16 different Christian religious churches practicing on Rarotonga.  

The power of any message lies in the singer not the song.