Considering Rubbish

Friendship is truly a gift from God. We have some friends who live too far away and we consequently don’t get to see nearly often enough. Our hearts think of them often as they tweet their way into our thoughts and sometimes prayers. Their writing is encouraging and thought-provoking and I’m thankful to know them. Recently Amber has been writing on chains and as go our lives so go the links in the chains.

The inconvenient thing about chains is that I really like them. I like old chains and new chains. I have an orange chain that I keep in the back of my truck to pull my mower out of stuck places, which happens more often than I’d like. I like bicycle chains and chain saws. I like the way that they sound when they clang together and I like the way that they lay all coiled up in a puddle of links and welds. I’ll say it, I have a chain shaped hole in my heart. As I read Amber’s posts I recall my past and what it has been that has shaped my identity. My past hurts and relationships; family and friends, church and work.

The Apostle Paul talks about chains in several places. He writes about literal chains as he is held prisoner (Ephesians 6:20, Colossians 4:18) for the sake of the Gospel. He also writes about his spiritual chains as he counts all of that which held him, his chains, as rubbish for the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7 & 8). Paul didn’t just have a reason to boast either. He has the identity of all identities. He was the Jew that surpassed all Jews. His chains were huge!

My heart cries out to God…I remember Christ…I remember my citizenship and I ask for his mercy.

Remember the band Social Distortion? Yea, I didn’t either, but I do remember the song Ball and Chain.

Well it’s been ten years, and a thousand tears
And look at the mess I’m in-
A broken nose and a broken heart,
An empty bottle of gin
Well I sit and I pray
In my broken down Chevrolet-
While I’m singin’ to myself
There’s got to be another way
Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
I’m lonely and I’m tired
And I can’t take any more pain
Take away, take away
Never to return again
Take away, take away
Take away
Take away this ball and chain
Well I’ve searched and I’ve searched
To find the perfect life-
A brand new car and a brand new suit
I even got me a little wife-
But wherever I have gone
I was sure to find myself there-
You can run all your life
But not go anywhere
Well I’ll pass the bar on the way
To my dingy hotel room-
I spent all my money
Been drinkin’ since a half past noon-
I’ll wake there in the mornin’
Or maybe in the county jail-
Times are hard getting harder
I’m born to lose and destined to fail-

“I’ve searched and I’ve searched to find the perfect life…” Why do we do this? Oh, how often and quickly we forget the Gospel. I’m no poet but I like to try. I liken it to carving an ice sculpture. I can’t carve ice with a chainsaw but I can cut down a tree.

From the ministry of the Holy Spirit through Paul to my heart as I reflect on chains, and ask Christ to minister to my spirit and remind me of the beauty of the Gospel.

Considering rubbish…
Holding and gripping, fidgeting around,
Finding that which owns me is whatever I can’t put down.

The dogs! The mutilators! That’s not where I belong!
Take away, take away, take away this ball and chain…so goes the song.

These things to which I’m bound, rubbish at the cross.
For it’s death from which I’m freed, counting all of it as loss.

The greatness of love, come down to intervene.
A world broken, tattered, drunk and mean.

As love condescends and shatters my iron tether,
I’m bound now to my Savior, his chain I cannot feel,
For it’s freedom which now I’m bound and upon Christ’s blood I am sealed.

May the Lord bless you as you consider the depth of your identity. Casting all aside that pulls us asunder, rendering it to Christ the author of life and keeper of freedom.


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