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Archive for November 19th, 2016


John 1:5: The Crack in Everythingrafter-lights

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. (GNT)

Canadian singer, songwriter-poet Leonard Cohen died last week and with his death came a remembrance of the haunting lyric of Anthem, from his 1992 CD entitled The Future. The verses speak to anyone anywhere on the political-social spectrum who worries about the state the planet’s diverse societies, or who has concern for planet Earth herself. Written in the key of Bb Minor, the song gives courage to those who strive for perfect peace, those who seek union in our diversity, those who tire from the struggle for justice. As the refrain repeats, Cohen reminds us that when despair comes upon us – as it always will during our tumultuous lives – we must celebrate what there is to celebrate, we must put aside the notion that our sacrifice earns us the reward we demand, and we must remember that light always pierces all false perfection to reveal the eternal truth that cannot be denied.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in. 

My dad was fond of telling us, when we brought injustice to his attention, that the truth always comes out in the end. This was his way of reminding us that ultimately, and always, God is in charge. Even when we cannot make sense of what happens around us. Even when we see nothing but disaster. Even when we feel nothing but fear.

The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out. (MSG)

My dad also liked to remind us, when we brought evil to his attention, that we need to “let God worry about the other guy”. Do what you know you need to do, and don’t think you are God. Even when it looks as though humanity is bent on thwarting God’s economy. Even when society is determined to destroy itself. Even in the face of horrific evil.

And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (DRA)

crackWe know that corruption is present everywhere; and we must always do what we are called to do to stand against it. We know that darkness always seeks to overcome light and we must always nurture the light where we find it. And we know that the ignorance of darkness cannot overcome the knowing of God’s presence.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated it. (ERV)

And so when we worry, when we strain against reality, when we forget that there are cracks in the everything to allow the light in, we might also remember the words of John the Beloved Apostle writing about the Christ.

Everything was created through him;
    nothing—not one thing!—
    came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
    and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
    the darkness couldn’t put it out.

We remember that there is a crack in everything.

When we compare different translations of these verses, we discover that in God’s great design, there is a crack in everything . . . so that God’s  light might get in. 

To learn about Leonard Cohen, visit his official site at: https://www.leonardcohen.com/

Cohen’s Anthem can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCS_MwkWzes or click on the lyric above.

For Jennifer Dukes Lee’s reflection on Cohen’s verses and scripture, visit: http://jenniferdukeslee.com/what-your-broken-places-are-for/

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