Carbon Ribs

Start this time by reading 2 Samuel 9.

A thousand pairs of fiery eyes
Burn like a serpent down the Highway 5
As the long amber tail to Los Angeles unwinds

Nothing too spiritual here.  Just amazing poetry 🙂  But if you ever get a chance to go to the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, the view of the city at night is incredible!  It’s most likely where he got this image.

I’ve got His resurrection down inside my skin
But for all my revelating I just can’t make sense
Of this gravity we’re in

Isn’t that the one of the most confusing parts about being a Christ-follower?  Knowing that you are a “new creation” in Christ (read 2 Corinthians 5:17), but still living in the tension created by our sin nature.  Feeling sin in our lives like the pull of gravity.

‘Cause I’m a dead man now with a ghost who lives
Within the confines of these carbon ribs

I love his image of carbon ribs.  Carbon implying that we are made of the stuff of creation.  All living matter is made up of carbon atoms.  The Genesis creation account says Adam was “formed of dust from the ground” (Genesis 2:7).  We are most definitely “of” this Earth.  And picture in your head a ribcage on a skeleton.  Looks a bit like a jail cell with bars.  I believe the implication is that we as humans are imprisoned in this tension.  On one hand sinful people deserving death (“cause I’m a dead man”).  Trapped in the cage of our own humanity (“the confines of these carbon ribs”).  But there is a spiritual side to us (“a ghost who lives”) that is longing to be free.  Longing to be removed from the confines of this earthly struggle.  What are the areas of your life that make you feel trapped?  Write them down.  Identify them.  Name them.  And then surrender them.

And one day when I’m free I will sit
The cripple at your table
The cripple by your side

Recall the passage you read from 2 Samuel 9.  Mephibosheth was lame.  In that culture, he really had nothing to offer.  Especially not to a King.  In addition to that, he could have been viewed by King David as an enemy, a threat to his throne, and as such deserving of death.  But David said instead, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”  This story is beautiful parallel of the redemption story.  King David is the God figure.  The one holding the power of justice.  Saul is the mankind figure.  The one who rebelled and fought against the true King.  Mephibosheth is the figure of the humble sinner who has nothing to bring.  No special ability to earn a seat at the King’s table.  Jonathan, a picture of Christ, the one the King loved that was killed.  The King David desires to show kindness to Mephibosheth, the child of Jonathan and offer him a perpetual seat at His table and a place in His palace.  Just as God desires to show kindness to us, the children of Christ and offer us a perpetual seat as His table and place in His palace.  By no ability of our own.  Just the kindness of a King to a humble person crippled by our sin.

A thousand miles of pain I’m sure
Led You to the threshold of my heart’s screen door
To tell me what it is I’m dying for

Here he weaves the image of a highway like the first verse.  More great poetry.  Yet the “thousand miles of pain” is not referring to our pain.  It is referring to the pain endured by the one who ultimately traveled to the”threshold of my heart’s screen door”.  The painful journey of Christ seeking our redemption.  And this image of our heart being a “screen door” implies that He has the ability to see what’s in our hearts.  The sin.  The pain.  The struggle.  His Spirit is the one who reveals to us what is killing us on the inside.  There’s a great quote from Oswald Chambers that says, “Are you prepared to let the Spirit of God search you until you know what the level and nature of sin is in your life – to see the very things that struggle against God’s Spirit in you?  If so, will you then agree with God’s verdict on the nature of sin – that it should be identified with the death of Jesus?  You cannot ‘reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin’ (Romans 6:11) unless you have radically dealt with the issue of your will before God.”  Will you let Him tell you what it is you’re dying for?  And will you surrender those things to Him?

Gravity comes like a cold cold rain
To lead me to the rope again
But someone is standing in my place

I believe the “rope” here implies a noose used for hanging someone for their trespasses.  Our sin nature leads us to our death, but someone stood in our place on the hanging platform and took the punishment for us.  Just how incredible is that?!  That Jesus would take the noose in our place, even though we were the ones deserving the punishment.  That is the true definition of “Amazing Grace”.

I sit beside You

2 Samuel 9:11 says, “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons.”  You see, God doesn’t just offer us any seat at the table.  Not the seat of a guest.  Not a seat at the opposite side of what I can only imagine to be a very long table.  He offers us the seat of a son.  Christ’s sacrifice and God’s kindness made us children of the King.  John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”  That place at the table awaits you.  Rejoice in that fact and thank Him this week.  In the meantime, receive each day as a gift from a Father to His child, and find the beauty He has for you in it.

Until next time…

Jeremy