God discovers Himself through Mankind? – or, my interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s ”Suzanne”

april 7, 2015 § Lämna en kommentar

I have fallen in love with the song ”Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen. It’s an unusual song since he blends the themes of human love and divine love. As if human love is in a way divine, and divine love is in a way human. The song is also very curious since, as a Jew, he sings of Jesus in a very intimate way.

I have meditated a great deal on this song’s lyrics, But then, only a few days before Easter, the second verse of Jesus really stood out. I quote it here:

”And Jesus was a sailor, when he walked upon the water.

And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower.

And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him,

He said, ”All men will be sailors then, until the sea shall free them.”

But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open.

Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.

And you want to travel with him, and you want to travel blind.

And you think maybe you’ll trust him, for he’s touched your perfect body with his mind.”

This verse brings Leonard Cohen’s own interpretation to the life of Jesus, which could seem to be a bit ”daring”. But I don’t mind that, since any new ideas anyone would have of God or Jesus could be considered heretical by the establishment. Jesus himself was seen as heretical by the Jews of his day; and Leonard, as a Jew, is taking a risk; so I too, as a Christian, will take a risk …

I think what Leonard is describing is Jesus’ own path towards reaching mankind. First he describes Jesus walking on water, or in other words, Jesus lives on top of life’s problems and worries with great wisdom. Jesus then also takes note that other people’s wisdom would carry them for a while, but sooner or later it will fail them. At that moment, Jesus sees that people will be ready to trust the his wisdom, and let Him pull them out of the murky waters.

But then something happens. The dreary human life overtakes Jesus little by little, and the reality of human life even erodes his ability to rely on his godly wisdom. Jesus slowly sinks down into human frustration, disappointment, depression: His godly ideals and wisdom can no longer carry him above the waters. He sinks like everyone else … He shares our humanness.

Jesus’ path is God’s path. Mankind may have lost their way, but it seems that even God has lost his way to mankind too.

But then something else happens: People then notice Jesus’ love to them nonetheless, despite His weakness. It’s not His strength they need: It’s His love they need. And it’s as if Jesus loves them without himself being really conscious of it. They reach for Jesus hand, and Jesus reaches for their hand.

(I came to this last interpretation when hearing the lyrics in verse 1 and 3 about Suzanne acknowledging his love).

It’s almost as if it were Mankind saving Jesus or God. Now that sounds heretical, but what if it helps answer the question of why God made us and the universe? Is the whole universe a way for, not only Mankind, but even for God to learn what perfect love is all about? Or maybe less heretically: Is the whole universe a way for God to discover Himself!? Discover Himself through Mankind!? Wouldn’t that be an amazing Easter message?!?!

suzanne and zoe

”suzanne and zoe”. By judy_and_ed @ flickr. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/65924740@N00/8560180809/ License: (cc) (by-nc)


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Du läser för närvarande God discovers Himself through Mankind? – or, my interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s ”Suzanne”Pataphysics of Simulacra.