We are all broken; that’s how the light gets in, the final quote from our walk that inspired subjects of the summer Pastor’s Corner articles. The origin of this quote is debated. Some attribute it to author Earnest Hemingway, and some say it is a lyric from Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem.” Neither is entirely accurate, and I am not sure it matters. What attracted me to the quote is the echo of the biblical teaching from Paul in his Letter
to the Romans. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” combined with Jesus’ response to the grumbling of the Pharisees over the company Jesus kept, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” What is it about our brokenness that
allows for Christ’s light to shine through?
On the one hand, that seems strange. Our brokenness tempts us to bad behavior, self-destruction, and damage, making it difficult for people to see Christ’s light in us. On the other hand, it is in acknowledging our brokenness and confessing that we’ve caused great damage that the grace of God is most apparent. It is this conundrum that led Paul to ask later in his letter, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
So, our behavior matters in both the good and the bad, which brings us back around to the question, what is it about our brokenness that allows for Christ’s light to shine through?
Perhaps it could be when we own up to our mistakes, and, genuinely sorry, we go to our knees in repentance and finally surrender our spirit to God’s Spirit. The cracks in our self-reliance, false sense of control, entitlement, and our defiance gone, and our stubborn necks bent in supplication allows God’s
light shine through us once more.
Possibly, if we are oppressed. Without power in this world or our society. When we have been abused, kept down, worn down, and desperate, we have no one else to reach out to for help but our Creator. With our soul crying out, God promises to become realized in us and we learn to constantly rely on Jesus for
comfort, encouragement, and guidance. We become very strong, indeed. The more dramatic the story, the more our faith is lit from within. Redemption stories bring so much hope into the world.
True surrender is what redeemed King David. He committed great sin, yet when he surrendered himself before God for forgiveness, he was able to reclaim his authority and reputation as the greatest King the nation of Israel had known. Despite his broken choices, David was a man after God’s own heart because he surrendered to God and the light was able to shine through the cracks of that brokenness. Without repentance and surrender, we block others from seeing the light, but when we do finally turn back and fall on our knees, the light comes through for all to see. Mary Magdalene, desperate and demon-filled; Peter, lowly fisherman; Matthew, despised tax collector, the woman at the well—an unclean, foreign woman, and countless others in scripture who were worn down, abused, hated, or oppressed became those people who took Jesus’ gospel message, and therefore his light, to the whole world. In all their brokenness, they brought hope and light to others in similar circumstances.
If this is so for David and if this is so for Jesus’ disciples, then it can be so for us as well. Our humanness can be a conduit for God’s light to the world. So let us embrace all the cracks and not be afraid to be honest and vulnerable, so we may shine God’s light before all the world so others may find hope and healing as we have. Amen?!