I could probably go on for a few thousand words about my love for the movie “Once” and how I strongly suspect that the few people who truly hate it (not just the ones trying to be cool contrarians) were probably, much like the baby in “The Seventh Sign,” born without a soul.
But we’re talking music here, and man, do the songs in “Once” go straight for the gut. The movie opens with an Irish busker played by former altar boy turned Hare Krishna, Glen Hansard, as he stands alone on a street belting out a tune fueled by the misery of a failed relationship. It’s a straight up cry to God for understanding if ever there was one.
In an interview with The Phantom Tollbooth, Hansard explains, "When I was young, I loved to read The Bible… I was greatly taken with the poetry of it, the blood and fire, the passionate existence of it… I love the preacher role, the idea of giving a sermon. You're having fun, but you are also saying, 'Be aware of this.' You have to tell people to push Satan down and to praise the Lord."
But, Hansard admits, “At some point you have to put your hands up and say that you are lost.” He goes on to joke that he enjoys feeling lost and not having all the answers because it’s good for his music, but listening to him sing, that argument isn’t so convincing. The lyrics of “Say It To Me Now” show a person in pain, someone who just desperately wants God to tell them the reason why everything is such a mess…
Scratching at the surface now
And I'm trying hard to work it out
And so much has gone misunderstood
And this mystery only leads to doubt
And I didn't understand
When you reached down to take my hand
And if you have something to say
You better say it now
Hansard’s lament here is basically the same as Job’s when he claimed that his own lyre had tuned to mourning and his reed pipe to sounds of weeping.
“I cry to you, but you do not answer me. I stand, but you take no notice.” (Job 30:20, NABRE)
“Oh, that I had one to hear my case: here is my signature: let the Almighty answer me! Let my accuser write out his indictment!” (Job 31:35, NABRE)
Say something to me now, Job pleads, but as often happens in real life, the answer doesn’t come immediately. It’s one of the big themes of the book of Job, that suffering often happens for reasons that we don’t understand until God chooses to reveal them to us. And if we occasionally feel overwhelmed during those times and can’t help asking if right now wouldn’t be a good time for a little bit of that understanding, well, after Jesus’ own moment of feeling abandoned on the cross, I’m pretty sure God recognizes the feeling and will cut us some slack as long as we hold onto our faith and trust in Him. He’s pretty good in that way.