John reminds us of our brokenness

Perhaps the hardest part about the Gospel lesson for Advent 3, Year C, is that JBap reminds us that we, like all those who have done this humanity thing before, are broken.  It is not a fun reminder any time of year, least so here during the holidays.

Yesterday on Episcopal Cafe, Sam Candler, Dean of St. Philips’ Cathedral in Atlanta wrote a piece on Advent, Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah” and the difficult reminder of our brokenness.  Here’s a part:

“The season itself is broken, isn’t it? We don’t know whether we are supposed to be still lingering over Thanksgiving, or being joyful, or refraining from singing Christmas carols because it’s not really Christmas yet. Are we supposed to be happy now, or preparing for something else? We don’t know.”

Read it all here.

When I shared this article on Facebook yesterday, a friend responded with the link to Leonard Cohen singing “Hallelujah” live. Talk about art emulating life, this version is broken.  Cohen is almost painful to listen to as he, himself a broken man, sings a broken word of praise.

Candler goes on to write, “So, don’t be afraid if (sic) something breaks this Advent, of even if you break something. That brokenness can be an occasion for holiness. It can be an occasion to sing Hallelujah.” It is good advice as John reminds us of our brokenness. It isn’t a bad thing, us being broken, in fact, it is the reason that God came to earth. Our brokenness serves as a reminder that God loves us so much that he got down and dirty, himself broken on a cross, to redeem us. That, I’m certain, is worth a word of praise.



2 thoughts on “John reminds us of our brokenness

  1. Good morning Steve, Leonard Cohen has just sung Hallelujah three times, plus a rendition by a lovely European singer. I read Sam Candler’s invocation and it has peacefully, helpfully, started my day, Your comments reaffirm John calling from-to the wilderness, and a reading of Anne Rice’s The Road to Cana led me into the wilderness with Jesus. brought me fully into Advent. As a 20-year-old I lived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for a time, where I first encountered ‘lepers’. Now I live in trendy Thonglor, Bangkok’s most Hi-So neighborhood. Weekly I join early morning eucharist at Christ Church, sometimes as chalice bearer, afterwards walking down Convent Road, past Starbucks to Silom, giving a few coins to beggars, young and old, touching the hand of a ‘leper’ (two last Sunday), and then repair to Doi Tung Cafe for coffee and conversation. Steve, please come to Bangkok. Bring Leonard Cohen for a concert. Thanks be to God.

  2. Another John – Juan de la Cruz (today’s saint) invites us into mystical relationship with God in a very sensual, contemplative way. With all that bombards our senses during “the season”, I find it so very hard to draw inward and touch that place where my brokenness meets with the source of healing; where “the Lover and the beloved” come together. Usually it is one (small) thing that grabs my attention and allows me to focus inward to that place.

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