I recently read a friend’s very moving Facebook entry on his life after the passing of his wife. In response to the post a friend quoted the lyrics from a song by Leonard Cohen. “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.” Some things may have passed you by, but you can ring the bells that are left in your life. You will not work things out even close to perfectly.
Cohen comments on the meaning of the song; “Because we confuse this idea and we’ve forgotten the central myth of our culture which is the expulsion from the garden of Eden. This situation does not admit of solution or perfection. This is not the place where you make things perfect, neither in your marriage, nor in your work, nor anything, nor your love of God, nor your love of family or country. The thing is imperfect.” He then explains there is also a crack in everything you put together. He adds, “But that’s where the light gets in, and that’s where the resurrection is and that’s where the return, that’s where the repentance is. It is with the confrontation, with the brokenness of things.”
Someone once said the best thing for a preacher (or a Christian for that matter) is to get something wrong with them and get it fixed. Well, no need to go searching. It is all there; the trials, difficulties, and vicissitudes of life. We are all broken vessels; there is no need to pretend we are not or to try to become whole on our own. God breaks in through the cracks.
Later in that same chapter, James says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” (James 1:17-18)
He is putting us back together into a new creation - we are the first fruits - a foretaste, or a pointer, to a time when we will be in a world where there are no cracks.