Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
September 5th, 2009

Barbara Dilly

Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Colossians 1:21-23
Psalm 54:3-4, 6 and 8
Luke 6:1-5

The verses in Psalm 54 selected for today are familiar ones to us all.  Most of us are quite willing to recognize that God is there for us….that God saves our causes and sustains our lives day after day.  In fact, as we grow older, we usually become more mindful that without God, we wouldn’t get through the scrapes we get ourselves into.  Nor would we be able to get through the increasingly greater demands of this life.  And in response, most of us grow more willing to offer our sacrifices to God, to bring our offerings.  We are more likely to keep the Sabbath and to appreciate that God has reconciled us through the sacrifice of Christ’s death.  As we grow older, we are more likely to persevere in the faith and to hold out hope in the Gospel message.

That describes a lot of Christians.  It certainly is where I am at this point in life.  But that brings a problem.  What kind of sacrifice can I offer?  What offering should I bring?  Jesus tells us that retreating into obedience to rules isn’t it.  It isn’t about how perfect we are.  Keeping the Sabbath and offering a sacrifice has more to do with finding Christ present in all that we do.  It is about living our lives in faith and openness to what God calls us to do...in the midst of our imperfections.  We are called to offer what we can toward what is needed.

I recently came to a better understanding of what that can mean through the artistry of Leonard Cohen.  I heard one of his songs on NPR’s “Speaking of Faith” program this summer and I was so moved that I bought the “Live in London” concert CD recording.  It is full of reflective pieces by a 74 year old man with a gift for musical poetry and a passion for life.  It inspired me to think more about what kind of offering I can bring.  I encourage you to find this CD and listen to “Anthem.”  The lyrics go like this:

So 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.

The birds they sang, at the break of day.  Start again, I seemed to hear them say.
Do not dwell on what has passed away, or what is yet to be.
Now the wars they will be fought again, the holy dove, she will be caught again.
Bought and sold and bought again, the dove is never free.


We ask for signs, and the signs were sent.  The birth betrayed,
the marriage spent.  Yeah, the widowhood of every single government,
signs for all to see.
I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd,
while the killers say their prayers out loud in high places. 
And they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up the thunder cloud, and they’re gonna hear from me. 


You can add up the parts but you won’t have the sum. You can strike up the march, but there is no drum.  Every heart, every heart to love will come, but like a refugee.

Chorus: Ring the bells that still can ring, forget the perfect offering.  There is a crack, a crack, in everything.  That’s how the light gets through, that’s how the light gets through.

You can find the lyrics and a recording HERE  but I suggest getting the CD as it has a full orchestra and chorus behind it as well as Cohen’s intimate interaction with the audience during a live performance.  The effect is much more moving.  The entire CD is powerful, especially “Hallelujah” and the “Whither Thou Goest” benediction.  The work moves me to think more courageously about what I can do with my life as a sacrifice to God.  I enjoy hearing from readers.  Let me know what it does for you.  God Bless!

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