Friday, November 18, 2016

Preacher Leonard Cohen

photo by Kevin Williams / flickr

Leonard Cohen has opened some doors and windows in my life that were stuck. Isn't that always the task of a good preacher?I know, I know how flawed this man was in as great many ways. And he would have laughed his fool head off if somebody called him a preacher.

Leonard Cohen died a few days ago but he left us words and music that will be with us for a long time.  My favorite comes from his moving words in "Anthem." They have helped me many times. Listen. Listen closely.

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

We bounce along and things seem sometimes mighty fine. And then...all hell breaks loose. Divorce...sickness...She/He lose a job...or faith...or a friend...or you hate what you have done...or you lose an election...or maybe you win one and it is not what you thought it would be at all. 

Maybe Cohen is right...maybe it really is in the cracks and fissures that the light really gets in. It has happened to me over and over through the years. Something unexpected or terrible occurs and looking back I learned something I could have never known any other way. 

The troubled preacher Leslie Weatherhead lived through the blitz in London. His daughter never got over that awful time. He was subject to great depression often. Yet he was a great preacher and writer. He wrote somewhere about those words from Isaiah: "I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places." (Isaiah 45.3a) That phrase : "the treasures of the darkness" came straight from his heart. I think he would have loved Leonard Cohen. 

Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah " has been recorded over 300 times. If you have heard it you can understand why it means so much to so many. 

"There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah."

We will miss Preacher Cohen. He let the light shine through his own brokenness and taught us a mighty lesson.

photo by Frank T / flickr

--Roger Lovette /

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