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:
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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