Tuesday, March 12, 2024

#72 / Renewing Our Revolution - An Invocation


Thinking about "renewing our revolution," as I frequently do, has led me to thinking about the task of "Invocation," the calling forth of new efforts and attempts to change the world. Leonard Cohen, it struck me, has already sounded that call, as I noted in one of my blog postings a little while ago:

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
     Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Cohen's "Anthem" contains this observation: “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.” These are the lines that bring a huge roar from the crowd, as Coehn introduces the song. These are the lines that are first remembered - those powerful lines that acknowledge the imperfections in the world in which we live, and that remind us (once again) that we live in a flawed and fatal world - and that while its flaws are manifest, we are actually called upon to celebrate that fact. It is true, no matter what might tempt us to a different thought, that it is a blessing to be alive. The very flaws in all we know are exactly how the light gets in.

But let us listen to some other lines, as well. As I listen to Cohen sing this song, this “Anthem,” here are the lines that capture me, the lines that I hope will capture us all:

Ring the bells
That still can ring
Forget Your perfect offering
The line that tells us that there is "a crack in everything" makes an observation. It is an accurate observation,  an observation that is powerfully true. But the lines about ringing the bells call out a command. More than an observation, those lines tell us what we must do. Those are the lines that can serve as an Invocation, the lines that call us to action in a time of crisis.

We need to stop delaying our action, until we can act with perfection. We are called, always and forever, to ring the bells we can. Whatever we can do, that is what we are commanded to do – to try to do. However hopeless it might seem. However “imperfect” our actions might be. 

Those bells - the bells that we can ring.... Whatever bells those are, it is our job to ring them!



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