“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”
—Anthem, Leonard Cohen
It was early in pandemic days, when many church congregations were still trying to get their footing in the digital world, that we watched a service that had the lyrics posted along with the music so that we could sing along.
Unfortunately, there had been a misspelling in the text. Normally this sticks out like a sore thumb to me, probably due to the stringent efforts of teachers as far back as grade-school to ensure we got words right. I remember spelling bees with two teams lined up at the back of the classroom. Once the teacher named a word, there was a mad dash to inscribe it on the dusty blackboard, quickly and correctly, to make our individual contribution to the team’s success. Generally, these games were considered great fun.
But sometimes, like a Freudian slip, a misspelling creates a paradigm shift that reveals a world underneath. The word believe had been misspelled in the lyrics, as “belive.” To believe is a central Christian tenet. It implies a holding something precious close to our heart, but can be such a fuzzy, abstract concept. Sometimes, when we go through difficult times of doubt, it can feel tougher to maintain than a lifetime of works.
But for just an instant, an epiphany seemed to illuminate “be live.” And I had to stop to ponder this. For, after all, we are to be in Jesus, to live in Jesus’ Life, to fully be alive.
Each Sunday, our technical teams faithfully prepare the readings and lyrics in the worship software for the intended church service. As each screen is lined up, there is a moment when the technician hits the Go Live button, and the words are displayed so that all can participate.
Living the Christian life first means being in Jesus, then doing out of that. This means we are fully connected to the Source, set free to be abundantly alive. It’s an overflowing life that enriches the lives of others.
All of this insight from a “mistake.” Perhaps perfection is not only unattainable, but highly overrated. Because, as the apostle Paul discovered, God shines best in our weaknesses.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”—2 Corinthians 4:7